How are male nurses perceived?

  1. I have begun observing and volunteering at a hospital before beginning nursing school and had a negative experience this weekend. When asked by a very senior and experienced nurse why I was on the ward, I replied that I was learning as much as I could about nursing before heading to nursing school. She responded that males should be doctors not nurses and said it was not appropriate for me to be observing what other nurses did until I was a student--she said this to me despite my showing her that I had been authorized by the hospital administrator to observe. Is this a common reaction to male nurses or those who wish to be nurses? All of the nurses I have worked with and observed so far have been very kind and helpful. Perhaps the one I encountered is just an anomoly--at least I hope. But I just wanted to get feedback on this. Thanks.
  2. Visit hemlok2 profile page

    About hemlok2

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 13
    BSN Student
    Specialty: My goal is to become a CRNA

    35 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    My experience has been that they are perceived the same as females...by ability, not the hardware under the uniform. Your statement about the "very senior" nurse may answer your entire question.....the oldest generation of nurses may have a more difficult time with accepting male nurses, just as some of the older generation of doctors have a problem with women doctors. If a nurse is what you want to be, go for it and don't pay any attention to what she said. Nursing and doctoring are partners, but they are also very different.

    As for observing, some people are not comfortable with people observing who are not in the department in an official capacity. I have permission from my nurse manager and HR for my teenaged daughter to shadow me on her days off from school because she wants to be a nurse. There is one nurse in my department who is not comfortable with that because my daughter is not yet a nursing student.
  4. by   EricJRN
    It might be a common belief in Guam, but I doubt it. It's not like that where I am from. I think you're right about it being an anomaly.
  5. by   Nurset1981
    My dad has been a nurse for 30 years and has had a great career. Old school nurses tend to be difficult and don't like change. When I was in nursing school we trained on an L&D unit and man were those nurses mean. They are OLD SCHOOL and don't like students, especially men. SO bad that the nursing school dropped the contract with the hospital.
    No fear my friend, as long as you become a good nurse don't worry about what some rude, narrow minded and may I say not a friend of women's lib says anyway. Go to school, learn a lot and take over her floor when she retires!:wink2:
  6. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    My husband is a nurse also, and other than a few situations where a cath was ordered on a female and she requested a female nurse, there haven't been any problems.
  7. by   bethem
    In my (limited, student-based) experience, male nurses have been perceived as being - in general - taller than the females.

    Honestly, I have never seen anyone even bat an eyelid at a male nurse (unless they were flirting ; )).
  8. by   nursesaideBen
    From my own personal experiences, I have been treated with a lot of respect for going into nursing. You'll run into the old sour pusses every once in a while but some people are just miserable with themselves. As long as your happy with your career move, that's all that matters! Best of luck to you!
  9. by   Mr_Nurse
    Hey just want to encourage you to stick to your plan despite the old bitter nurse you ran into. Male nursing students are like stars in my school and i always get more attention on the hospital floor.
  10. by   hemlok2
    I really want to thank all of you for sharing your thoughts and words of encouragement with me. I am sure nursing, just like any other profession, has its old guard who hold on to the ways of the past and who are averse to change of any kind, even if it be change for the better. They meet every change or innovation like an angry mob brandishing pitchforks and torches. However, after encountering people of that kind, it is always nice to know that there are wonderfully open-minded people such as yourselves who see things differently.

    cheers,
    Paul
  11. by   Tweety
    Good luck Paul. As the others have said, that's just one person's opinion, and it's not an opinion most nurses hold. Good lluck!
  12. by   Ronnie G
    Don't worry about how that female nurse perceive you. You're there to observe (with authorization) and learn. Concentrate on that. Request for another unit where they are more accomodating, if it is possible. Don't get discouraged because time's frequently changing. When you become a nurse and maybe when the situation arises, she's going to ask you to assist her putting a 300-lb. man OOB to chair.
    Don't worry about how the others perceive you as a male nurse. Worry only on how a client perceives you. It's the key element in administering nursing care. If the client trusts you, you know you did a mighty fine job. Good luck.
  13. by   royr
    Quote from hemlok2
    I really want to thank all of you for sharing your thoughts and words of encouragement with me. I am sure nursing, just like any other profession, has its old guard who hold on to the ways of the past and who are averse to change of any kind, even if it be change for the better. They meet every change or innovation like an angry mob brandishing pitchforks and torches. However, after encountering people of that kind, it is always nice to know that there are wonderfully open-minded people such as yourselves who see things differently.

    cheers,
    Paul
    Paul - I would encourage you to folow your heart and try your best to define your OWN roll. As a senior nursing student in a BSN program I have met with many issues. However; as the program has progressed, many of the nay sayers have quieted down as hard work and good patient responses have tempered some of the attitudes toward me being "highly visible". I combat these negative attitudes by being prepared. I tend to combat ignorance with knowledge - for instance - when going into a clinical situation, I will use every moment to learn all I can about my patient - read the chart cover to cover - then use the internet and my text books to become familiar with possible avenues to provide care. Then try to assess them from a doorway distance before I knock, introduce myself and enter. This heads off the issue of "nursing while male" as some of my classmates call it - by being sure that I am welcome. Once at bedside, I will use all my professionalism and aquired nursing skills to assure my patient that inspite of how I look, I do belong there. You will continue to get your share of digs and jabs from time to time, and they will test you - but stick with it and show them that you can get the job done. Sometimes you need to adapt - for example - I had one nurse yelling around the unit that "there is a bear in the nursury" when I was changing and feeding newborns - so - I shaved and got a hair cut for the next rotation so I would appear visibly more human to her for the next clinical. It's the little things of trying to fit in that sometimes help - but I did notice that the babys I took care of didn't seem to mind - and a couple even liked pulling my beard and laughing while I took care of them. Go figure!
  14. by   cota2k
    I am a male RN (or supreme commander, another thread) and have never been questioned, even in my rural, little community hospital.

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