Bill Would Let Patients Pick Nurse Gender - page 10

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Faith Myers, an Anchorage woman with schizophrenia, has been in and out of mental institutions since 2000. She said she felt violated during the time she spent at the Alaska... Read More

  1. by   rngolfer53
    Quote from brian
    JUNEAU, Alaska -- Faith Myers, an Anchorage woman with schizophrenia, has been in and out of mental institutions since 2000. She said she felt violated during the time she spent at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage because male nurses would regularly see her and other female patients bathing, using the bathroom and dressing.

    API changed its policies in 2004, allowing patients to request a staff member of the same sex to be in the same room, but not necessarily as the nurse who performs the intimate care duties.

    Myers said the policy does not go far enough.

    Myers, 53, is pushing lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow patients to choose the sex of the their nurses in intimate care situations.

    Rep. Les Gara's bill would allow mental health patients in institutions with a staff of 10 or more to make a gender preference for intimate care. If a staff member of the same sex is not available to accommodate the request, the hospital must document the reason.

    "It's about the basic right of the most vulnerable patients to be treated with dignity," Gara, D-Anchorage, told the House Health, Education and Social Services Committee last week.

    He argued that patients who have suffered sexual abuse could be further traumatized by having a member of the opposite sex bathe or clothe them.


    Full Story: http://www.newsday.com/news/health/w...alth-headlines
    Yet another foolish law proposed by politicians doing what politicians do best...........pander for votes.

    There is simply no way, on a busy floor, in on-call home care, etc to make this viable. Unless of course the Pt is willing to wait a long time for the "right" gender to have some free time from their own Pt load.
  2. by   Cul2
    1. This bill involves mentally ill patients.

    2. You might ask youself the kinds of abuses that existed that caused a bill like this to get as far as it did.

    3. The bill doesn't "require" same gender care. It "requires" that the institutions make a "good faith effort" to find same gender care for the patient. If they can't accommodate, the must record that fact on the chart. Some of these mentally ill patients have been sexually abused and could be further traumatized by opposite care.

    If you have a problem with making a "good faith effort" to find same gender care for any patient at all, mentally ill or not, then you need to a review of medical ethics.

    4. And if you think that gender doesn't matter in our culture (for some members of both sexes), especially when it comes to personal issues of the body, then you're living in la la land.
  3. by   PeachPie
    Quote from lee1
    And what about MDs------- I have never seen anyone complain about their gender !!!!!
    Amen, even in L&D!
  4. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Quote from brian
    Myers, 53, is pushing lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow patients to choose the sex of the their nurses in intimate care situations.
    I am from California, not Alaska, but aren't pt already allowed to do this? Seems like pointless legislature. Some women in OB o not want male doctors or male nurses for various reasons ranging from past sexual abuse to cultural reasons. Its not a matter of discrimination.
  5. by   diane227
    They can certainly make it a law but it won't happen. You very often get what you get when you get your staffing each shift and no one can guarantee that the patients request would be met. This is an example of people making laws that know nothing about how medical care works, how hospitals work and how staffing needs are met.

    I work on a med surg floor and almost always we are able to meet the requests of the patients in regard to the sex of their care givers. I am sure that most units, no matter what type, would try to meet the pts request. But there are some units where I have worked where male nurses/ staff were dominate such as ED or some of the psych facilities where I have worked. Under those circumstances I could not always guarantee a female patient that she would only have a female provider. However, I can tell you that trouble has occurred as a result of this. I had one male nurse accused of sexually assaulting a female patient while he as assigned to the GYN area of the ED where I was the director. We went to court and he was found not guilty but he was really placed in a bad position having that assignment.
    Last edit by diane227 on Dec 22, '08 : Reason: Wanted to add more info
  6. by   Cul2
    They can certainly make it a law but it won't happen. You very often get what you get when you get your staffing each shift and no one can guarantee that the patients request would be met. This is an example of people making laws that know nothing about how medical care works, how hospitals work and how staffing needs are met.

    I work on a med surg floor and almost always we are able to meet the requests of the patients in regard to the sex of their care givers. I am sure that most units, no matter what type, would try to meet the pts request. But there are some units where I have worked where male nurses/ staff were dominate such as ED or some of the psych facilities where I have worked. Under those circumstances I could not always guarantee a female patient that she would only have a female provider. However, I can tell you that trouble has occurred as a result of this. I had one male nurse accused of sexually assaulting a female patient while he as assigned to the GYN area of the ED where I was the director. We went to court and he was found not guilty but he was really placed in a bad position having that assignment.


    If, as you say, it's not going to happen, then that will get recorded on the patient's chart. If, as you say, you can most often meet patient needs in this situation, then that too will be recorded on the patient's chart. If a particular institution consistently is unable to meet patients needs, and the charts show this, then there may be a problem. I would suggest that, because this is now recorded on the patient's chart, institutions will make special effort to staff so that patient needs in this area can be better met.
    Your comment about "how medical care works, how hospitals work and how staffing needs are met" suggests you see only one way of running things. In some very important areas, "things" aren't working well within healthcare. We need to consider different ways of seeing things. And, staffing isn't brain surgery. Sometimes little can be done. But most often creative scheduling can work, if patient needs in these areas are valued as importantly as the institutional needs. If things were running as smoothly as you suggest, laws like this would never be introduced and certainly never get passed.
    Frankly, I'm against laws like this, too. Few people, patients and healthcare workers alike, want the government interferring in doctor/nuirse - patient relationships. There's too much defensive medicine happening as it is. It's too bad that laws must be passed, though, to get this kind of issue out into the fresh air and discussed openly.
    Remember, these mentally ill patients are being forced into this system, and in the past they have had fewer rights in this area than have prisoners. If you're interested in the specifics of this law and the testimony, you can access all this from the State of Alaska webpage. Read and listen to the testimony. Several other states have found the need to pass similar laws.
  7. by   rph3664
    Quote from lee1
    And what about MDs------- I have never seen anyone complain about their gender !!!!!
    We've had OB patients who requested no male practitioners at all, in any capacity.

    This was a problem recently when the only anesthesia person available was male; she was willing to compromise on that.
  8. by   Cul2
    We've had OB patients who requested no male practitioners at all, in any capacity.

    This was a problem recently when the only anesthesia person available was male; she was willing to compromise on that.



    Your first sentence makes a point. Your second sentence, that begins with the fact that there was a problem "recently," implies that in the past there hasn't been a problem. Apparently you are willing and able to comply with these requests with few problems. Am I correct in my inferences?
    You end with the statement that the patient was "willing" to compromise, which implies there was some give and take.
    Now -- since we're talking about patient selection of nurse gender, and you brought up patient requests for same gender teams in the OR -- how would you respond if a male requested an all male team for a particular lysensative operation?

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