Originally posted by timonrn:
Todd, wasn't sure if you wanted to see answers posted but I think this is a very interesting topic and I, too, would like to see what others have experienced. I work in OB/GYN and have only worked w/ 2 males ever in my 17+years here--one an RN, the other a CNA. The RN was here for about three years and never did find acceptance from either his peers or his pts. I have to admit he never could get a break from us "females" but he also was kind of creepy. He eventually was forced to resign due to one too many medical errors. The CNA, on the other hand was very well accepted and never had a complaint from pt or staff (All female). Why? good question--so maybe it boils down to this--if you are a male going into a female dominated unit, you are at a major disadvantage and will be looked at warily by the female clientele/staff-we can't help it. This is where trust and respect (not to mention safety issues ingrained in us ) are earned after a trial by fire. I'm sure male MD's feel this fresh out of school--it either makes you or breaks you. (being creepy doesn't help the cause) Any answers out there from you fellow OB nurses/CNA's?
Thanks for your honesty, and input into this disscusion. My personal experiance when I started one year ago and today have basically remained the same. I had the world's best preceptor. Her 30 years of experiance along with her mother-like attributes made the journey very difficult.
But truth be known those 12 weeks of shear terror proved to be the confidence with which I now make clinical decisions. When residents ask me what I think or listen to my opinion before making hasty orders, or intervntion, I can't help but feel it was the spirit of my preceptor beconning from within, like the "force" from star wars or something. The bottom line is my preceptor prepared me to handle the reality of the job from about the second week of training. This made for a totally overwelming 12 weeks in which I lost 25 pounds from loose BM's and nervous stomache. AS if 36 hr's a week with God's most perfect example of LD nursing was making me feel just a little bit like hitting the high road, I dreamed about crashes night after night up until the 9th week. All this and I put myself through a rigorous self study just to try and fill in the cracks. I read a high risk antapartum book (about 500 pages), and a fetal monitoring book, about 200 pages, and thought I was going to lose my mind. As if this wasn't bad enough I got into hot water with a couple of the residents over simple misscomunication. What kept occuring was that the residents would talk to my preceptor about my pt instead of me, making me feel as though I was only an observer. When I finally did convince my preceptor to keep making the residents come to me so I could develope the much needed trust and repor of the docs, an incident blew up in my face behind my back. Around the 8th week of orientation my preceptor came to me and told me she was not sure If I was going to be able to continue. I was floored, I had absolutely no idea she felt this way and inquired as to her concerns. She said one of the residents said I contradicted her on a direct order to give a pt a labor epidural and that resident went to her chief and her peers where they were going to write me up. Here is the low down on what happened. The resident had said to me, "she can have her epidural now" I said, "did you write the order?" she repeated, "She can have her epidural", I again asked, "did you write the order?" What transpired is that the resident already stressed due to the nature of the whole big cheese, little cheese syndrome already in place, felt I was challenging her direct order, when What I was saying was did you write the order or do I need to? Being a new grad nurse I was just getting use to the whole verbal order thing, and was very busy with my second pt. I just wanted to know if she had written it or if I needed to because I didn't want to forget and move on without writing, and or notng the order (typical of new grad one domensional nursing). Once I explained that I was not sarcastic or rude about my request, but rather misunderstood, my preceptor called of the chief and took to my deffence. I went to that resident and appoligiezed for any confusion I caused and explained that I had no intension of making her look bad and I was just trying to manage pt care and her order at the same time as best I could given my experiance. She said she understood and that it made sence now that I explained it to her from my point of view. This simple episode almost lost me my job. Looking back on the whole thing I think it may have been a male thing to say what I said the way I did and think she understood my question. Sometimes we don't realize how much what we say or the way we say things is percieved, especially by a party that is under heavey stress, and sleep deprived. Following this incident things were not smooth sailing but I didn't have any more problems with the residents. That resident made good and told the others to work with me, that my heart was in the right place and I cared for the pts. My preceptor and I had a great send off on my last day with her on the day shift. A pt was having multiple var dcells, and we neededto amion infuse her. she was 4 cm, and I had just given the don't push, poop, or pass gas speach as this may be the babies head. I instructed her to hit the call light first and let me check her to make sure it was not the head if she felt any of the above mentioned. Whil;e preparing the warmer and pump tubing for her amnio infusion we heard a whooooooooooooooooooo, my preceptor yelled wer're coming hunny, we ran in the room I put on two sterile gloves and caught the baby with my preceptors help. When she saw that I did not leave the room to get a del. cart or needed supplies, and that I remained calm through the ordeal, she said you really did good in there, I'm real proud of you Todd. I asked her why and she said, because you did exactly what needed to be done and new where everything was. I responded, well of corse I did you showed me where everything was, so why would I leave. She laughed, and said your gonna make a great nurse. That was a heck of a way to settle lingering doubts in her mind about how I would react alone in similar situations. I think that once again my being male made it much harder for her to read my emotions, something most women are proficient at. This lead her to question what I evidenced in pt care the previous 8 weks, because she didn't connect with me on that level until that moment. Some may say that it is not very important to conect in that way, but on two occasions I feel gender nearly spelled disaster for me. I feel most preceptors trust their intuition the same way my preceptor did. However, I feel that when dealing with men in OB it becomes necessary to base more on results and less on feeling.
No fault to my preceptor as this was her first ever male pupil. The differences between the genders are not bad, but can become an issue unessarily. I have since enjoyed the friendship and comrodery of all on the unit. My humor is what keeps the women, pt and staff approachable. On numorous occasions I page other nurses phones right next to me with heavy breathing
or my best middle east dialec. This willingness on my part to help them smile a little more and complain a little less has brought an improved moral. Not tomention the numerous food bribes too many to count that I have given in an attempt to lighten their load. The nurses I work with are the best, and are constantly making sacrifices for the sake o the unit. I feel proud to be concidered, "one of the girls". It is when thy sit and disscuss female issues right in my presense without hesitation that I know they are sharing something very special with me, their trust, and their friendship. Any man wanting to work in L/D would do well to remember that L/D is a women's world, and respecting that fact will give you both long life in this feild, and a new perspective towards pt care. In short celebrate the pt, but more importantly, celebrate the staff, and you will survive in OB, no matter what your gender...Todd from tulsa, by the way my wife is a nurse as well....