EEK! There's a woman in my room!

  1. Since the "man in my room" thread got closed, I thought I would try a different track. I want to focus on something a little different.

    We know the emotional responses we got to the idea of men providing intimate care of women. What I want to discuss is the issues affecting the intimate care of men by women.

    If any of you have read my prior posts on this subject, you are aware of my own difficulties with opposite sex care. To recap, my own experience involved a sexually abusive situation. I am male, and when I was in the hospital as a teenager, the female nurse decided that I needed a bed bath. So that is what she proceeded to do. And much to my embarrassment, I got an erection during said bath. I wasn't aroused, it just happened. As any guy can tell you, we just don't have direct control over that function. This nurse decided she had the "cure" and proceeded to strike me in the scrotum. A lot of damage was done, physically and emotionally. One testicle healed in way that would not allow me to father children (antibodies). I'm skipping over a lot of detail in the interest of brevity, but that's what happened. :imbar

    I have heard over the years many comments as to a female nurse's reaction to the male erection. A number of times I have heard reference to causing a pain stimulus to stop the erection from occurring. The stimulus usually involved striking the genitalia with an object or by using the middle finger to "thump" or "flick" either the penis or a testicle. I have heard several members of the military tell me this was done to them when they were hospitalized while in service, sometimes while recovering from combat wounds. In my situation, it could be that this nurse didn't get the desired result from just using the middle finger, so she resorted to something more forceful.

    My questions to you all is this. How widespread is this? How many of you learned to do that in school? Maybe learned it after school? Have any of you ever done it to your male patients? Ever hear other nurses talk about it?

    I'm not trolling and I'm not joking. It happened to me and others that I know of. It would be nice to get enough information together to come up with an article for a major nursing publication. That would bring the issue to the forefront and maybe launch an initiative to stop this brutal practice. Men treated this way could easily be your father, husband, son, brother, other family member, significant other, best friend, neighbor, or coworker.

    One other thing. Given the overwhelming presence of women in nursing, male patients are often expected to just accept intimate care from women nurses without complaint. Often times there may be no other choice. But other times there are. It appears to me that female nurses (and other medical staff) have such unlimited access to male patients that they practically take it for granted. Many of the rules in place defining or limiting what male providers can do to female patients often don't apply to females in the care of men. I realize it varies among different facilities, and I have read on this forum that there are some men doing intimate procedures on female patients. However, I suspect the majority of facilities do put some kind of limit on what the men can do. Gender bias results when members of one sex are held to rules that the other sex is exempt from. The outcome of the bias is an imbalance where it is difficult for the female providers to effectively empathize with the male patients. That results the females taking an almost lackadaisical, casual, or blase' view of the modesty and privacy needs of male patients. For me it has been an uphill battle many times when receiving care just to get them to close doors or curtains, or provide draping. It's not the men I have this problem with, it's mostly women. To me treating a patient with respect and privacy specifically means covering my exposed body for comfort. To deprive me of that is to deny their obligations. I want female medical personnel to value my privacy as much as they value their own.

    Having gone through infertility treatments with my wife and have stood next to her as she received care and I have noticed that privacy is never an issue. During breast exams only one side was exposed at a time. I have endured several exams where I was instructed to strip down to just underwear and wait for the doc. When the doc enters the room there is a moment where anybody outside can see past the doc. When the doc gets to the genital exam you have to lower the shorts to midthigh so you are essentially naked, and then have to bend over the table for the digital. I know men who have had this done by female docs. Absolutely cruel. At least I have only had male docs for this. I have had my share of ER visits over the years, GSW, plane crash, fire/smoke injuries, etc. Every time I have had to battle for my privacy/dignity/decency. When you are hurt that's the last thing you should have to worry about.

    Any other men here experience this? Your thoughts on this ladies?

    I have nothing against women. I find myself in agreement with many women here when it comes to personal care. Please don't think I'm on a tirade. If we can get some constructive dialog going maybe we can learn and do better for others.

    Let's keep it nice so the mods don't close the thread. :wink2:
    Last edit by 58flyer on Nov 27, '07
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    About 58flyer

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 316; Likes: 239
    PoPoAV8tor; from US


  3. by   MAISY, RN-ER
    I always give both sexes privacy when caring for their needs.

    I can't imagine striking anyone's scrotum to stop an erection. It's cruel, especially to a young man! That was an evil nurse!

    You are right, everyone's dignity should be preserved. If a man doesn't want a female, we are able to get a male nurse in the ER (it doesn't happen often), we also will have a female attend to a woman's needs.

    I have had several inappropriate male patients and at least one female patient, my last wanted his wife to watch me insert a catheter(never had one before), I am not sure if he thought he would enjoy it, however, his pleasure was short lived with insertion.

  4. by   FireStarterRN
    If one thread, of a similar nature, got closed, why start another thread that might ellicit similar responses?
  5. by   Shantas
    I am sorry to hear what you went through. That was totally inappropriate and I would like to know if you have taken any kind of actions against that nurse who caused you to have both physical and emotional trauma??
    I personnaly treat my male patients with great dignity and respect regardless of their age or mental status. Often time if I have a young male patient I encourage them to do their peri care on their own unless they are weak and not able to care for themselves. Before I do any procedure I always inform them and explain to them what I am about to do. I have never struck anyone with any object....I have seen male patients getting erection but I never made any big issue out of it. I my self have a son and after taking care of him since his birth I very well know about this erection business!!
    I have also experienced where male patients would ask me to do things just for the sake of their own entertainment. There are some patients that grew up in a society where they view the female nurses as sexual objects. When I face situation like that I just tell them why I am there and what my duties are....if they continue to be disrespectfull I tell them to take a hike....
    I also think this whole gender issue is also a cultural thing. Its ok for female nurses to take care of male patients but its not ok for male nurses to take care of female patients, or in some other culture its vise versa. So when I care for anyone I also keep that into consideration..
  6. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from jlsRN
    If one thread, of a similar nature, got closed, why start another thread that might ellicit similar responses?
    i have no idea why the other thread got closed.
    i don't even recall any seemed very abrupt.
    too bad.
    it's a thread (such as this) that could be beneficial.

    personally, i would be interested to hear how male pts feel about female treaters.
    generally speaking, i don't think men are very modest.
    otherwise, how could so many, pee outside?
    or pee in a urinal, in a line, w/a bunch of other guys?
    i'm just looking at the big picture.
    maybe most men just don't care?
    we (men/women) are very different creatures...

  7. by   EmmaG
    Well, like I told you on the other thread, our psycho instructors in the diploma (RN) school I attended expected us to do that, and demonstrated the technique on a cath dummy. This was back in '79-80.
  8. by   MNmom3boys
    58flyer - I appreciate your dedication and interest in keeping this portion of that topic open, and hope that others can contain themselves to helpful and instructive input! Although I am obviously female I have several males near and dear to my heart, not the least of these being DH and our three sons.

    I think the "treatment" that you described is barbaric and can honestly say it was not taught (offically or otherwise) in the program I just graduated from. Privacy and protection of modesty for all "clients" was emphasized, along with the suggestion to withdraw and let a male patient compose himself if need be.

    Assigning patients along gender lines was not something that was strived for, and indeed I really never thought of the possible conflicts (esp. emotionally rooted) that patients might have those preferences, male or female. Shame on me for not being more sensitive. Male classmates expressed disinterest and/or difficulty relating to OB/GYN material, but there really wasn't a male equivalent specialty or clincal site.

    Perhaps this lack of thought to the issue was because I haven't dealt with some of the issues described by OP (duh) or more accurately some of the women in the other thread. Perhaps because I am in the majority - as female - in this field of nursing and never thought that there might be patients with preferences other than a female caregiver. Perhaps this is because I have reached a stage of life/experience where I have developed a clinical approach, not one that objectifies or dehumanizes, but rather focuses on the job to be done. However, I need to be aware that the patient is probably not at the same stage or thought process. (of clincal focus)

    Nonetheless, I appreciate to openness of the OP, along with other males on this forum, as well as the females that have exposed life events and thought processes that while not pleasant to recall have started at least this newbie RN thinking in ways that I can only hope will make me a more competent and caring nurse.

    Thanks to all who have bared their heart and soul in the hope of getting the rest of us to think!
  9. by   Katnip
    As for the OP, I've never heard of this, and have never been taught such a thing. It's despicable. How long ago was this? If a man has an erection during basic care, I don't make any sort of deal out of it. I, and every nurse I know, understands this is as mainly just a reflex and doesn't necessarily have anything to do with arousal.

    I do agree, that when I'm taking care of a male patient that I encourage him to do as much cleaning of himself as possible. But I do the same for females as well. It's a matter of offering as much privacy as possible. It's the same with exposing the patient only as much as necessary to get done what needs to be done, that includes giving an IM injection.
    Last edit by sirI on Nov 27, '07 : Reason: referred to a long ago deleted post
  10. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    Well, like I told you on the other thread, our psycho instructors in the diploma (RN) school I attended expected us to do that, and demonstrated the technique on a cath dummy. This was back in '79-80.
    and what were the reactions of your classmates?
    did any find this acceptable?

  11. by   kanzi monkey
    Quote from jlsRN
    If one thread, of a similar nature, got closed, why start another thread that might ellicit similar responses?
    I admit, I did not pore through the pages and pages of the now closed thread, but from what I read, this seems pretty different to me.

    I've never heard of "flicking" or causing a pain stimulus to a patient with an erection--that's absurd. As nurses we have to navigate the sea of complex human emotions on a daily basis, and I think most of us develop a good sense of when a male patient is actually a creep, physiological response or no. There is that occasional patient that I know will need multiple staff in the room when intimates are cared for d/t the potential for harassment or manipulation (you know, the patient that grabs at your boobs when you reach out to shake his hand--the real obvious sort...)
    For a nurse or PCA to ever be in a situation where a pt is exposed during part of their care, their should already be some established nurse/pt relationship. If a male patient happens to get an erection, as professionals, we should ignore it, and maybe redirect our focus as soon as possible so as to not continue to subject the pt to embarassment/awkwardness. Why on earth anyone would ever try to "flick" a persons genitals is beyond me, and frankly disturbing.

    To the OP--I'm sorry for your traumatic experience, what a horrible thing to have to live through.

    And I hope the bizarreness of the poster who called us all "sickos" hasn't affected your willingness to share on allnurses, since she/he did seem to take a rather inopportune moment to be crass and irrational about a sensitive issue.

  12. by   EmmaG
    Quote from earle58
    and what were the reactions of your classmates?
    did any find this acceptable?

    Nervous laughter. That kind of thing. I think most of us thought it rather shocking, but these women truly were nuts. IMO they were quite abusive to the students who were terrified of them. You simply never questioned anything they said. They made it quite clear that we were expected to do this. I don't know personally of any student who did; I left the program after the first year.
  13. by   TazziRN
    flyer, i graduated in '88 and this was never taught at my school.

    as for privacy differences between male and female pts, in my experience most men do not have a problem with being in their shorts. men who have an issue with female caregivers and intimate care have the same right as women to request a caregiver of the same gender, or at least a chaperone.

    my practices: if i can offer the choice of a male nurse i do, but when that option is not available i don't offer it. in the er it was rarely an issue unless the male was a teenager about to have something like a foley insertion done. when i've supervised nursing students through foley insertions, they almost always uncover the pt first, then set up. since they're students, it takes a while to set up. i cover the pt back up until the student is ready, then uncover. later, in private, i explain how they can leave the pt covered right up until it's time to get sterile, then uncover, glove, and go to work.
  14. by   canoehead
    Sounds like a painful and insensitive idea to me.