Gender Discrimination Against Nurses or Other Healthcare Providers?

  1. I'm probably going to regret starting this thread, but this is a question I've been pondering over for a while now- since I saw a thread discussing a nurse who was put in a difficult position by having to assume responsibility for a racist patient who refused her care. Hopefully no one on this forum disagrees that refusing care from a healthcare professional based on skin color is unquestionably wrong. However, it seems a lot of people disagree on whether a woman can refuse healthcare from a man.
    It seems obvious to me that there are many situations in which a woman would rather have a female take care of her, and in which that would be perfectly okay. Most requests of this kind involve a procedure in which a degree of vulnerability is assumed- I'm pretty sure no one's ever said she won't have a man do her charting or something like that Sexual assault victims, for example, could be distressed by a man's touch or even his presence. Is it discrimination to refuse care from a man in that case?
    What if you were an Orthodox Jewish woman or a practicing Muslim woman who would, for religious reasons and modesty rules, prefer a female healthcare provider if they were to be touched or have to undress?
    What if you just don't want a strange man to see parts of your body that you keep private, even in a completely professional capacity, and that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe?
    I've seen people on here mention being refused by a patient for whatever reason, and who have gracefully arranged to have a colleague step in instead to avoid problems. I've also seen arguments over whether or not a female patient has the right to refuse a male healthcare provider and seen what seems to be a lot of anger and annoyance that people have that choice and make it- and not just from men.
    As a woman, if a man under my care said he'd rather have a man perform certain procedures I can't imagine why I would be angry at all, unless perhaps he was denigrating my capability or something like that? I just can't understand why the gender preference matter seems so wrong to some people. If a male wants a male caregiver, or a female wants a female caregiver, who are we to decide that their choice is unworthy or assume that it is based on some kind of negative gender assumption and not just their personal comfort level with the opposite sex?
  2. Poll: Do you find it reasonable for a woman to refuse care from a male for any reason?

    • Yes, I find it reasonable and understand it

      90.00% 9
    • No, I find it unreasonable and biased

      10.00% 1
    • I really can't decide

      0% 0
    10 Votes
  3. Visit CocoBug20 profile page

    About CocoBug20

    Joined: Mar '18; Posts: 13; Likes: 10
    from MO , US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    8 Comments

  4. by   Daisy4RN
    If you hadn't added "for any reason" in your poll question I would have voted Yes, ("For any reason" is not acceptable to me because that leaves the door wide open for people to complain and want to change nurses for anything and that is not necessarily conducive to the unit). I have never had a problem with either gender requesting what ever gender they are comfortable with and have always accommodated that request as much as possible. We once had a male patient who requested a male nurse for a foley procedure but we did not have a male nurse (although we probably could have borrowed one), explained that to the patient and that he had a right to refuse but after talking with the patient he agreed and all went well, sometimes a little education/communication goes a long way. I really would not label it as gender discrimination, I think it is more patient preference and in my experience it has not ever been a problem.
  5. by   Aunt Slappy
    Speaking of negative gender assumptions, why is it that in your post, people can only be victims of male sexual assaulters?

    Women commit sexual assault too. The cultural fiction that they don't or that men can't be victims is corrosive and unjust.
  6. by   CocoBug20
    Quote from Aunt Slappy
    Speaking of negative gender assumptions, why is it that in your post, people can only be victims of male sexual assaulters?

    Women commit sexual assault too. The cultural fiction that they don't or that men can't be victims is corrosive and unjust.
    Because the general topic I was posting about women refusing care from men. If I had made a post about men refusing care from women I would hardly have attempted to deny the obvious fact that men have also suffered from sexual assault. Reading my post again I find it hard to see anywhere in my words 'people can only be victims of male sexual assaulters'?
  7. by   CocoBug20
    Quote from Daisy4RN
    If you hadn't added "for any reason" in your poll question I would have voted Yes, ("For any reason" is not acceptable to me because that leaves the door wide open for people to complain and want to change nurses for anything and that is not necessarily conducive to the unit). I have never had a problem with either gender requesting what ever gender they are comfortable with and have always accommodated that request as much as possible. We once had a male patient who requested a male nurse for a foley procedure but we did not have a male nurse (although we probably could have borrowed one), explained that to the patient and that he had a right to refuse but after talking with the patient he agreed and all went well, sometimes a little education/communication goes a long way. I really would not label it as gender discrimination, I think it is more patient preference and in my experience it has not ever been a problem.
    No, so many things that patients can do disrupts the ideally smooth workings of a unit. Not every request can be accommodated, but do they have the right to make it? I know that special requests make more work and more confusion and aren't always possible, so my question isn't really whether they have to be complied with but if it's a reasonable request.
  8. by   Susie2310
    I was taught in nursing school that patients have the legal right to refuse care from any caregiver, for any reason, and that to continue to provide care if a patient has refused can constitute battery and leave one open to facing charges of battery.
  9. by   Aunt Slappy
    Quote from CocoBug20
    Because the general topic I was posting about women refusing care from men. If I had made a post about men refusing care from women I would hardly have attempted to deny the obvious fact that men have also suffered from sexual assault. Reading my post again I find it hard to see anywhere in my words 'people can only be victims of male sexual assaulters'?
    Actually, your OP addresses both sexes preferring same sex caregivers.

    "As a woman, if a man under my care said he'd rather have a man perform certain procedures I can't imagine why I would be angry at all, unless perhaps he was denigrating my capability or something like that? I just can't understand why the gender preference matter seems so wrong to some people. If a male wants a male caregiver, or a female wants a female caregiver, who are we to decide that their choice is unworthy or assume that it is based on some kind of negative gender assumption and not just their personal comfort level with the opposite sex?"
  10. by   pro-student
    Quote from Susie2310
    I was taught in nursing school that patients have the legal right to refuse care from any caregiver, for any reason, and that to continue to provide care if a patient has refused can constitute battery and leave one open to facing charges of battery.
    Refusing care and requesting a provider with certain characteristics (e.g - race, gender) are very different things. Yes, a competent adult pt has the right to refuse care but not to dictate the specifics of care. The OPs question, I believe, has to do with someone who is not refusing care but requesting a certain type of provider. For example, a woman who needs a foley might request a female nurse but is not necessarily refusing the procedure. Now if only a male is available, she could choose to refuse and, assuming she is competent, her wish would be respected. Facilities are obligated to honor a pts refusal but this is strictly a yes/no decision. They are not legally obligated to honor a pts preferences.
  11. by   Susie2310
    Quote from pro-student
    Refusing care and requesting a provider with certain characteristics (e.g - race, gender) are very different things. Yes, a competent adult pt has the right to refuse care but not to dictate the specifics of care. The OPs question, I believe, has to do with someone who is not refusing care but requesting a certain type of provider. For example, a woman who needs a foley might request a female nurse but is not necessarily refusing the procedure. Now if only a male is available, she could choose to refuse and, assuming she is competent, her wish would be respected. Facilities are obligated to honor a pts refusal but this is strictly a yes/no decision. They are not legally obligated to honor a pts preferences.
    Yes. I was making a specific point to the OP that I was taught that a patient has the legal right to refuse care from any caregiver for any reason. That is the point I intended to make based on the OP's post which I understood.

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