Tips for New Grad Male Nurse Transitioning

  1. Hello to all:

    I am due to graduate this spring, and I have been offered my dream job as a L&D Nurse. However I will be the first nurse on that floor, although there are many male residents. Can any seasoned nurses give me any tips on how to make a smooth transition and perhaps fit in with the other nurses, and not cause much controversy.

    Also I was warned there may be some slight resistance, anything I can do to help ease this?

    Honest responses please~

    Thanks to All
    •  
  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   HappyNurse2005
    Don't make a point out of being the "male nurse". don't say anything about it, unless asked, then don't make a big deal "actually, i consider myself a nurse, not a "male nurse".
    don't make a big deal about it to the patients, just make it matter of fact. "hi i'm Joe, i'm going to be your nurse today"

    if you try to keep it low key, hopefully they will too.
  4. by   Dayray
    Congratulations!

    We have talked before and as I have told you before there is a place for men in OB nursing.

    That being said, I have to say that I would be wary of a job as a both a new grad and the first male on the floor.

    I say that because I did that and it turned out badly. Perhaps you can succeed where I failed. I won't share the story again because I think I've told you before.

    Because of my experiences when I interviewed for my current position I asked about opposition of the current staff and got the answer I wanted. My manager told me "I don't think there will be any and I won't tolerate it" that was the answer I needed because I knew that mistreatment based on my gender was not seen as acceptable to her and that I had her support. I also was not the first male on this floor.

    However I will offer what advice I can in regards to your current situation.

    Stay clear of the common "male nurse" stereotypes.

    1 male nurses are lazy - work your behind off offer to help everyone, be the first one there in the morning and be ready to work

    2 male nurses get better treatment from doctors - don't pal around with the doctors or engage in "guy talk" if a physician makes a disparaging comment about women to you even in private (which they will) find a way to non offensively let them know you don't share their views. A confused response like "why would you say that?" has worked for me.

    3- male nurses don't respect their female coworkers - go out of your way to show your respect, don't kiss up or be fake but make sure you look them in the eye and be sure to express your appreciation of their help and suggestion's.

    4- men are messy and expect women to clean up after them - clean up after yourself, keep your rooms tidy and don't leave the junk in the break room and please please don't leave the toilet seat up. In fact try not to use the same restroom as everyone else or all the messes will be blamed on you.

    Also as a the only man in a female environment you have to be very careful of your interactions with your coworkers.

    Never ever "check out coworkers or visitors"; don't engage in flirting this will ruin your relationship with the staff. It could easily be seen as harassment and even if the flirtie is willing others will see this as a bad thing. Don't talk about girls you date or like or even actresses or singers (until you get to know people better on the floor).

    Don't interfere with the "pecking order" of the floor. Women interact differently then men do in this regards I'm not going to get into specifics as I despise generalizations and don't want to perpetuate them but I will say that you need to keep yourself outside of this or you will quickly find yourself at the bottom.

    If someone tells you a piece of gossip about another coworker do not engage in it. Simply say "really?" and either find a way to change the subject or get away. This will burn you faster then anything be careful.

    Erase the words "I know" from your vocabulary, if anyone offers you a piece of information (even if you already know it or don't agree) listen to them, thank them and then consider it. I'm not saying that you should take every piece of advice offered to you but you must at least offer the courtesy of considering it. If you ignore them or blow them off they are going to think you don't respect them and write you off.

    Figure out who the leaders on the floor are and learn everything about nursing you can from them and let them know you are eager to learn from them. If you show that you are willing they will gladly teach you and hopefully except you as well as encouraging others to accept you.

    Realize that everyone IS watching you and making judgments about you. Never let down your guard or forget that you are an outsider and in many respects an oddity. You have to prove your self to them as a good nurse and as a safe person to have on their floor. Your goal is to eventually overcome this but only by realizing it can you actually do that.

    When people make disparaging comments about men (which they will) don't blow up and don't voice opposition instead look like you are listening and neither show approval or disapproval. The best way out of this trap is too not to take a stand eitherway.

    Don't allow yourself to be used as the muscle. Yes help where you can but don't allow your self to be seen as the guy who carries the heavy stuff. This is hard to do because your should help out and I always tend to pick up the heavy stuff but if you are seen as the muscle your are falling into a generalization and then others are automatically applied to you.

    Take the best care of your patients you can. Everyone is going to think the patients are uncomfortable with you. You can deny this all you want but the only way to change their mind is to have patients tell them how much they love you.

    I could write forever on this subject so I'm going to cut it short and say the very best way to get the focus off of "men in Ob" is to shift the focus to patient care. Make everyone see that you take great care of your patients and that they are infact better off for having had your care despite your gender.

    I have seen many men come and go from my current job. I can only shake my head as I see them make stupid mistakes and lose the respect of coworkers. I've been here for almost 4 years and I can honestly say I many times forget that I am different and that I'm not always thinking about "the male nurse thing".
  5. by   bnsam1
    What sound advice! As a student facing my first three week placement in a few weeks time I really appreciated your insight. Many thanks
    Last edit by bnsam1 on Mar 9, '07 : Reason: word "week" omitted
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    One of the best nurses on my unit happens to be male. He just rocks. Do not let others make you think otherwise. Men DO belong in OB if that is their passion.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Dayray, I cant' tell you how good it is to see you here posting. Hope you are well.
  8. by   Lilnurse0803
    Wow Dayray,

    Your post blew me away and I think that is wonderful advice you gave. I am a female, soon to be OB nurse, and let me tell you that I know some wonderful OB nurses and midwives who are men. Gender makes no difference when you are a physician, why should it be any different when you are a nurse?? As long as you give your 110% each and every shift to your patients and treat people with respect, you will be fine.

    Keep your head up and keep that light shinning for all nurses, not just males, because this can happen to anyone who thinks they may not fit in.

    Take care!
  9. by   scookdad2
    I have been a male nurse for 16 years, when I first started nursing I to had fears of being the "male norse". Now I neaver give it a thought and my coworkerss don't seem to care what I am as long as I get the job done as a profesional. I also worked for a short time in OB, that was a great job as I worked in the nursery.
    Good luck and rember your not a male nurse your a N-U-R-E-S! :angryfire
  10. by   Shamira Aizza
    Quote from Dayray
    Congratulations!

    We have talked before and as I have told you before there is a place for men in OB nursing.

    That being said, I have to say that I would be wary of a job as a both a new grad and the first male on the floor.

    I say that because I did that and it turned out badly. Perhaps you can succeed where I failed. I won't share the story again because I think I've told you before.

    Because of my experiences when I interviewed for my current position I asked about opposition of the current staff and got the answer I wanted. My manager told me "I don't think there will be any and I won't tolerate it" that was the answer I needed because I knew that mistreatment based on my gender was not seen as acceptable to her and that I had her support. I also was not the first male on this floor.

    However I will offer what advice I can in regards to your current situation.

    Stay clear of the common "male nurse" stereotypes.

    1 male nurses are lazy - work your behind off offer to help everyone, be the first one there in the morning and be ready to work

    2 male nurses get better treatment from doctors - don't pal around with the doctors or engage in "guy talk" if a physician makes a disparaging comment about women to you even in private (which they will) find a way to non offensively let them know you don't share their views. A confused response like "why would you say that?" has worked for me.

    3- male nurses don't respect their female coworkers - go out of your way to show your respect, don't kiss up or be fake but make sure you look them in the eye and be sure to express your appreciation of their help and suggestion's.

    4- men are messy and expect women to clean up after them - clean up after yourself, keep your rooms tidy and don't leave the junk in the break room and please please don't leave the toilet seat up. In fact try not to use the same restroom as everyone else or all the messes will be blamed on you.

    Also as a the only man in a female environment you have to be very careful of your interactions with your coworkers.

    Never ever "check out coworkers or visitors"; don't engage in flirting this will ruin your relationship with the staff. It could easily be seen as harassment and even if the flirtie is willing others will see this as a bad thing. Don't talk about girls you date or like or even actresses or singers (until you get to know people better on the floor).

    Don't interfere with the "pecking order" of the floor. Women interact differently then men do in this regards I'm not going to get into specifics as I despise generalizations and don't want to perpetuate them but I will say that you need to keep yourself outside of this or you will quickly find yourself at the bottom.

    If someone tells you a piece of gossip about another coworker do not engage in it. Simply say "really?" and either find a way to change the subject or get away. This will burn you faster then anything be careful.

    Erase the words "I know" from your vocabulary, if anyone offers you a piece of information (even if you already know it or don't agree) listen to them, thank them and then consider it. I'm not saying that you should take every piece of advice offered to you but you must at least offer the courtesy of considering it. If you ignore them or blow them off they are going to think you don't respect them and write you off.

    Figure out who the leaders on the floor are and learn everything about nursing you can from them and let them know you are eager to learn from them. If you show that you are willing they will gladly teach you and hopefully except you as well as encouraging others to accept you.

    Realize that everyone IS watching you and making judgments about you. Never let down your guard or forget that you are an outsider and in many respects an oddity. You have to prove your self to them as a good nurse and as a safe person to have on their floor. Your goal is to eventually overcome this but only by realizing it can you actually do that.

    When people make disparaging comments about men (which they will) don't blow up and don't voice opposition instead look like you are listening and neither show approval or disapproval. The best way out of this trap is too not to take a stand eitherway.

    Don't allow yourself to be used as the muscle. Yes help where you can but don't allow your self to be seen as the guy who carries the heavy stuff. This is hard to do because your should help out and I always tend to pick up the heavy stuff but if you are seen as the muscle your are falling into a generalization and then others are automatically applied to you.

    Take the best care of your patients you can. Everyone is going to think the patients are uncomfortable with you. You can deny this all you want but the only way to change their mind is to have patients tell them how much they love you.

    I could write forever on this subject so I'm going to cut it short and say the very best way to get the focus off of "men in Ob" is to shift the focus to patient care. Make everyone see that you take great care of your patients and that they are infact better off for having had your care despite your gender.

    I have seen many men come and go from my current job. I can only shake my head as I see them make stupid mistakes and lose the respect of coworkers. I've been here for almost 4 years and I can honestly say I many times forget that I am different and that I'm not always thinking about "the male nurse thing".
    Some good advice, but a lot of this just made me sad.

    Men are not required to discard their masculinity.

    Men are not required to respect people who have not earned it.

    Men should not be required to adjust their behavior just to avoid blame, especially when they are not at fault, nor are they required to adjust their behavior to accomodate what may have become normalized (yet improper) female behavior.

    Nothing should be done differently just because the character may be a male RN; if any of this advice is good for a male RN, it's good for any RN...and there is something inherently wrong with directing behavior advice toward a specific gender of RN.
  11. by   cota2k
    Take the best care of your patients you can. Everyone is going to think the patients are uncomfortable with you. You can deny this all you want but the only way to change their mind is to have patients tell them how much they love you. DayRay You nailed my friend.
    A male Nurse in any setting will be viewed differently. Unfairly, we start behind the 8 ball, and have to do all the little extra things just to break even. Your advice, not just what I copied above, but the entire post, is 100% truth. Give 100%, your patients will appreciate you, and you'll have an easy time looking at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day.
  12. by   imenid37
    You got the really good advice from Dayray, so all I have to add is my heartfelt good wishes to you. Best of luck on your new job and career!

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