A Common Problem


When I was in nursing school I was the only male in my class. I endured alot of ribbing but tried to keep a good attitude. I only got upset when the women talked about practicing str8 cathing on me. Imagine if I had said that to a woman!

But my current issue is...well....I don't know how else to put it: ****** nurses. Now I'm sure there are ****** male nurses too, I just happen to work with 100% women. Women seem to have a special talent for cutting each other down, gossiping about one another, and sometimes being downright cruel. Management seems to be okay with this and even participates in it. And as the lone male, I get singled out for an even larger dose of abuse.

Has anyone found a way to put a stop to, or at least curb this behavior? It does wear on me, and sometimes makes me dread going to work.


219 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Med-surg.. Has 1 years experience.

I am in my second semester of nursing school. There are only around 5-6 guys in my class, and so far, each of us has been drawn into some form of BS, drama, or gossip against are wills. You are absolutely correct (and I apologize if this offends any ladies on this forum - it's just been my observation) but a student body comprised mostly of women has it's inherent...issues. I imagine it would be the same working on a floor or nursing home too. I and my male comrades find that when class is over, we like to leave the campus ASAP - there is just too much ruthlessness and back-biting.

I spoke to a female classmate who is exceptionally down-to-earth about this issue. She put it succinctly that many women think both logically AND with emotions. No, they are not all crazy, PMSing, or any of those stereotypes. She informed me that women DO take things that guys would shrug off way more personally. (Her words, not mine).

I think this is a touchy subject, but valid. As an answer to you initial question: when I was in a similar situation, I kept my head down an avoided the offenders as much as possible. If somebody questioned me about the gossip (which I was the subject of), I answered truthfully, but did NOT drag anybody else's name out. I tried to be civil, do what had to be done, and if some of these ladies were still harboring a grudge towards me, then I adopted the attitude of 'can't please 'em all'.

This may or may not be of help to you, but you are not alone in this - other guys have been dragged down by similar situations. It sounds passive, but just smile, be cordial to the offenders, and go on about your work. If somebody is going to say something about you or to you, you can only control your reaction to it. It's tough to take, but fighting back is probably going to escalate things. I wish I had better advice for you...

Good luck!


6 Posts

Thanks j-tay. I've tried the "smile through it" method and it has allowed me to avoid major conflict. But the situation still leaves me feeling beat up. I work nights, mostly on my own, so its actually just the last 30-45 minutes of my shift, during report and handoff, that I have to deal with these people. Still its an awful way to end your day.

I'll give an example. When I come in at 11PM, sometimes the 3-11 nurses are not ready to hand off. My reaction is to say "What can I do to help?" and then help them. If I'm not ready to hand off when the day shift comes in at 7AM, they will stand around with their arms crossed, rolling their eyes at me, and making snotty comments. There is NEVER an offer to help. And then during hand off there is constant criticism of my work. Not constructive criticism, which I would welcome, but snotty comments that are just designed to tear me down. One morning I asked my supervisor if she wanted me to do a certain task. Her answer was "NO! Just finish your work and get out!"


219 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Med-surg.. Has 1 years experience.

Ouch! Well, I guess depending on your relationship (overall) with your supervisor you might try to ask for constructive feedback on your performance. Maybe you could broach the topic with something like "I've been working in this position for X-amount of months/years/etc. and I was curious if you had any suggestions or hints that might improve my job performance?" --Or something like that. Don't say anything that suggests that you think you are doing a poor job, of course. But try to put the ball in her court with an offer of advice from her. By doing so, I think it shows her that you respect her and her opinions, which she may appreciate. This MIGHT make you look less threatening to her, and MIGHT improve relations with her somewhat (notice I keep saying 'might'!). If that doesn't work, perhaps you should try and transfer to another floor if that's not out of the question.

As for the other gals, it sounds like you are doing all you can. If you're offering to help them with their stuff and they are throwing it back in your face, it may just be an attitude issue. You may not be able to make any headway there. Again, I would be careful confronting them on their BS. You COULD say something to the effect of "Is everything OK?" after a snotty remark. You aren't calling them out necessarily, but you are acknowledging that they aren't happy and opening the door to a dialogue. Whether or not they talk is a crapshoot though - with my experience at school, they ignored the offer to talk and didn't speak to me for a couple of months (which was actually refreshing in away :) ).

Wish I had better advice for you.


209 Posts

Specializes in ER/Geriatrics. Has 24 years experience.

sounds like crappy place to work overall....get a different job!


94 Posts

Specializes in Med-surg, ER, agency, rehab, oc health.. Has 6 years experience.

I have had the same problem. I got a job with a staffing agency per diem. My was that refreshing. Didn't have to put up with the same people all the time and they didn't feel intimidated. I have worked with the agency for 3 years... And during those 3 years I have been employed full time for 2 of those 3 years with a hospital, under a manager who adopts a laze faire managerial attituted. Which basically means don't get involved with the BS and people aren't going to get into trouble over small stuff. She takes all of the tattling from the other nurses with a grain of salt. And consequently the nurses on the floor usually pick on the new person for a while until they get tired of it and the manager doesn't join in their games. It is a good floor to work on, and after the initial being picked on I haven't had any trouble. Now I am a charge nurse on the floor and been there for 2 years and it has gotten much better!