Awkward moment?

Nursing Students Male Students


So I'm a male nursing student, I graduate in a couple days. I precepted in the ICU and I personally have no issue with going in and doing bed baths and such, genitalia isn't an issue for me. Do any male nurses feel awkward performing baths on females that are totally with it, but perhaps incapable of doing it herself? I only ask because when I was completing this task during a precepting I had a patient that wasn't able to do it herself, but completely alert and everything, was just there for very close monitoring. I hadn't thought anything of it, until the PCA said to me when I walked out of the room she wouldn't feel comfortable if I was her nurse performing a bed bath on her unless she was sedated and didn't even know it was going on.

Shouldn't you have a female present with you when you do that? Just to CYA? Just like a male doctor doing a Pap smear, they have a female present in the room with them. I know the male students at my school always have females in there with them when doing a a bed bath on a female. Be careful! You just never know.

It's not a requirement to have another female present, but when we give bed baths, it's always a 2-person step anyway because all of the clients who require it are either partial or complete care, and we were taught never to try to lift or have the client hold onto the side rails when we're cleaning the back area alone - there should always be a second person supporting the client during that maneuver. So when I have a female client, I pick another female nursing student.

But sidenote: male clients never complain when it's a female student giving the bed bath because there's that assumption that he enjoys it because of the gender roles involved, so if he complains he's seen as the whiny client whereas if a female client makes that same complaint, everyone thinks the nurse really shouldn't be a dude to begin with!

Specializes in None yet..

I'm guessing it's a cultural difference in how men and women are taught to consider their genitals. You know all the stereotypes so I won't list 'em. Ironically, I'm thinking that might make it better for a woman to have a male nurse who may be less likely to have negative feelings about this particular part of her anatomy than another woman.

It's unfortunate that you encounter this form of sex discrimination. However, I'm trusting that your caring and professionalism will carry you through situations and slowly but surely chip away at male nurse stereotypes. I experienced this process as the first woman lawyer in a small, conservative town. Not fun, but YOU CAN DO IT!

Also, I second the idea of enlisting the help of a female colleague.

Keep us posted on your progress and best of luck.

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU.

I really don't mind, but I can see why others are saying that you should have a female in the room. It's easy for women to feel uncomfortable with a man doing peri care alone. I think a good idea would to have a coworker in the room when you have to work down there (other than a quick assessment look).

It seems like if there is any harassment or awkwardness, it is normally the patient harassing me! ...Elderly ladies love flirting with young men!

Specializes in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Not at all, but I can see that happening in my future, but all I can say is respect what the patient wants. If she doesn't want you in next time, grab someone else, otherwise go in and do it! We too were never really taught about having to have a female classmate/coworker at the side when doing peri care; however, I do remembering them mentioning to us about sometimes having a female cohort with us for certain situations/procedures. But yeah, like one of the peeps up above said, it doesn't hurt to grab a female cohort for your own safety.

Though, when I do peri care, I always let my patient (male or female) know that I am going to wipe "down there", their bottom, or their front before I actually go in straight away. Gives them enough time to decline or say that they will do it themselves.

If they're "with it", go ahead and ask their preference. Most pts understand you're performing an essential job, and if you're quick and professional, there won't be a problem. However, I always prefer having a female assisting (either a tech or another nurse) just to CYA. Always let them know you're about to perform pericare before you start, so that they're ready. Clear communications is paramount in this situation.

Specializes in Med Surg, PCU, Travel.

Sure people can have preferences, but that PCA needs to get over herself. I think females make so much of this as to some pervert sexual turn on...I wouldn't want to clean my darn own wife's stanking va-j-j if someone paid me to do it and most men think the same way. We just want to get the bath over with without feeling like someone is just waiting to accuse us of something.

The other poster makes a good point that female PCA's/nurses are not required to have a male in the room with them when they clean men. This assault on male nurses and male CNA's has to stop. It's pure sexism and unwarranted.

Specializes in Forensic Psychiatric Nursing.

If it was me, I would ask the patient for their preference. Do you want me to do it, do you want me to get a female to do it, do you want a female observing me during the procedure, what would make you the most comfortable? It doesn't matter to me how the bed bath gets done as long as the patient is satisfied with the care. They may have to pay more to have services delivered in their most preferential setting.

I have changed urinary catheters for teenage girls, have changed diapers on toddlers, have fed anorexic teenagers via gastric tubes, etc. I am there to provide a service to a paying patient. The patient is not there to provide me with a job, I am there to provide services to a patient who can pay.

Hey guys, just wanted to chime in on the topic. I am also a male nursing student. I think I can put your minds at ease a little. I have been working in labor and delivery since 1999 as a scrub tech/ OB tech, and have more than my share of uncomfortable situations. I have learned that each patient is very different in what they expect during their stay in a clinical setting. To ease the tension for patients , family members and myself, I usually go into every room that has a patient and introduce myself , my credentials, and that I may be entering the room at times when they are exposed or need assistance to the bathroom. They are more likely than not to except a male in those situations I've found.

It's awkward for me at times, but I see if the patient can do it themselves then I always give them the option to do it. If there not with it then I will let them know the situation and see what the response is and carry on with my job duties. forget about the PCA everyone has a opinion and just want to bring you down.

This is basic nursing care. Always ask permission before giving any type of care. When providing care, talk to the Pt and tell them what you are doing before you doing something to put them at ease and to trust you.

The talking through the steps will also help you get through any awkwardness. You say you don't mind, but if you really didn't, why would you have posted this?

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