I am SICK of male nurses who think they're Mr. Popular! - page 2

First of all, I am not discriminating against men, and I don't wish to start a war on which sex is cattier. The majority of male nurses I've worked with have been great coworkers. However, I'm seeing... Read More

  1. by   PeachPie
    Quote from ruby vee
    one of my personal pet peeves is the man (and it always seems to be a man) who walks up and tells me to "smile, it can't be that bad." first off, we're in a hospital and it absolutely can be that bad. i might have just withdrawn care on my father, sister or son. i might have just learned that my brain cancer is inoperable and might kill me. i might just have had to inform a patient that their cherished son or daughter will be unable to arrive from iraq before their emergency surgery or that surgery didn't go so well for mom, dad or grandpa. it absolutely can be that bad.

    and second, it's none of his damned business what expression i choose to wear on my face!
    i found a great article on why people, especially men, tell you to smile.

    i bet you're a woman and that most of the people who say this to you are men. i've read a few books on business culture for women that address the "smile!" phenomenon, which is very common. they say that in office environments, and other places where hierarchy is important and confrontation and competition are a fact of life, smiling is a submissive behavior meant to show that you are non-threatening. you would smile, for example, when attempting to defuse a tense situation and avoid a confrontation. to make a broad generalization, men in business culture expect women to smile regularly because they expect most women to exhibit submissive behaviors towards them. sometimes a woman who doesn't smile "enough" is perceived by men as challenging or threatening confrontation, and the orders to smile are an attempt to restore her behavior to the expected norms. this is probably not even a conscious calculation for most people. it's just something they perceive as "off" that they want to correct.

    if you're just concentrating and not actively scowling, my advice is to not worry about your facial expression. a serious, no-nonsense look is not a bad thing in the office. however, i'd also not be overly confrontational with people who tell you to smile as that can easily create bad blood and will teach them that they can get a rise out of you. i'd just respond with a very short, professional comment along the lines of "can i help you with something? i'm pretty deep in thought here right now", like lobstermitten's first suggestion. be friendly as you say it and don't apologize. this makes it clear that you're not angry or confrontational but that you aren't someone to order around and you won't rise to the bait of their "innocent" jokes. if someone pushes it further, then you can be more firm - "i appreciate your advice but this deadline is looming and it's all i have time for right now. i'll catch up with you later". if they still don't take the hint, then they really want to screw with you and you can consider biting back a bit - "if you have all this free time to worry about other peoples' facial expressions, then why don't you make yourself useful and help me with [task-you'd-like-to-delegate]?" delivered with the right air of detached amusement, that should defuse the situation nicely.
    a neutral expression is fine. smiles can be quite inappropriate for moods such as death. i cue on to the atmosphere of the patient's room and act accordingly.

    also, not everyone expects smiles. when i went to europe, i didn't get a lot of smiles, and i certainly didn't have anyone telling me to smile. one of my french friends told me that artificial shows are frowned down upon. same with my mom's stoic asian culture. as a result of her upbringing, i'm not a really smiley person. i've been told that my serious yet neutral expression instills calmness.
  2. by   NC Girl BSN
    I don't think there is anything wrong with telling people to "Smile". Alot of times people say this if they see that the person is having a bad day or look like you have been sucking on Lemons. The person will usually say what bothering them and vent about it. Sometimes getting it off their chest makes them feel better.
  3. by   Psychtrish39
    Well I smile at work too , at my patients and my co-workers but I still dont like someone telling me to smile if I am not. I may have something on my mind.
  4. by   itsbuzzy
    I think you need to lighten up. I agree the "would you sleep with me" comment is crossing the line, but everything else just seems like someone who is trying to keep an upbeat, positive attitude at work.
    Last edit by XB9S on May 6, '09 : Reason: TOS
  5. by   PeachPie
    IMO, telling someone to smile, especially if there is a chance that they may be mad, is like tickling a tiger. Would you go up to a surgeon, fully garbed and elbow-deep in a patient, trying not to nick major blood vessels, scowling in concentration, giving terse orders (NOT BULLYING, there is a difference), and tell him to SMILE? Hell no. I wouldn't blame him for getting mad. The same goes with me running down the hall 50 mph running for supplies. Don't derail my train of thought unless you think it seems more important than my tasks at hand.

    If someone seems deep in concentration, I either assume that they're busy, or if I must talk to them, I ask if everything's all right to get a feel of the situation.
  6. by   Be_Moore
    Quote from PeachPie
    Also, smiles are higher on the Maslow hierarchy, so I'd rather have an unsmiling nurse doing a code than a smiley nurse fumbling around.
    Which is why I would rather have a smiling nurse in a Code. According to Maslow, to achieve the higher levels you have to have the lower levels taken care of. So if smiling is a higher level (somewhere up near self-actualization, probably) then that means that person is fine on the other steps of the pyramid. Someone who isn't smiling has fundamental problems in their life.

    As a male nurse, I can say sure, your description applied to some guys. But not all of them. I could write a post just as long about the negative behavior I've seen from female nurses (which is more frequent, likely because of the increased population)...but not all female nurses behave a specific way either. I'm sorry that you have a couple bad eggs in your life, but applying isolated circumstances to the entirety of a population is sexist. Period.

    And by the way, I'm self-actualized. Smile! Life is too short to frown. And the last couple times I was in surgery, the surgeons were laughing and talking smack...so there was no need to tell them to smile.
  7. by   PeachPie
    Quote from Be_Moore
    As a male nurse, I can say sure, your description applied to some guys. But not all of them. I could write a post just as long about the negative behavior I've seen from female nurses (which is more frequent, likely because of the increased population)...but not all female nurses behave a specific way either. I'm sorry that you have a couple bad eggs in your life, but applying isolated circumstances to the entirety of a population is sexist. Period.

    And by the way, I'm self-actualized. Smile! Life is too short to frown.
    I never applied it to the whole population. I said that I have seen it in both sexes, but I've seen it more prevalently in males, and that the majority of male nurses have been great.
  8. by   FireStarterRN
    I've never noticed this particular behavior pattern in any of the male nurses I've worked with.
    Really...
  9. by   CdaleJekyll
    In your second sentence you state that most male nurses are great coworkers. So it's only the male nurses who think they're Mr. Popular that make you sick. Are you maybe that female nurse that thought you were Ms. Popular and you're feeling threatened by a new nurse with different attachments? Try not to focus so much on the popularity contest and focus more on the patients.
  10. by   PeachPie
    Quote from CdaleJekyll
    In your second sentence you state that most male nurses are great coworkers. So it's only the male nurses who think they're Mr. Popular that make you sick. Are you maybe that female nurse that thought you were Ms. Popular and you're feeling threatened by a new nurse with different attachments? Try not to focus so much on the popularity contest and focus more on the patients.
    I don't care about the popularity contest, I care that I can be in an environment where I can get my work done without redundant distractions that may affect care. My problem with the Mr Popular coworkers is if they try to suck me into their fan club. For example, when the braggart coworker called me outside to check out his new Escalade, I honestly thought that something was going on and medical assistance was needed out there. Same with the drama he created by trying to get me in trouble with the charge nurse for my "rude behavior" of not listening to him brag. Such bullcrap takes away from the patients, where my care is focused.

    For the record, I get along or don't get along with my female coworkers any more than than the males.
  11. by   Psychtrish39
    Quote from itsbuzzy
    I think you need to lighten up. I agree the "would you sleep with me" comment is crossing the line, but everything else just seems like someone who is trying to keep an upbeat, positive attitude at work.
    I dont think people who dont smile are unhappy at any given time. When I have 22 patients on my mind and passing meds. I imagine I dont have a grin plastered all the time. I would look like an idiot.
    Last edit by XB9S on May 6, '09 : Reason: removing edited quote
  12. by   NC Girl BSN
    Quote from PeachPie
    You're missing the point. It's okay when you're smiling. However, telling others to smile is rude and intrusive. Also, healthcare staff should know that if you're going to interrupt, make it important. Like I said, I'll be up to my ears in paperwork and a coworker will come up to me. I'll expect something important, but instead, it's a game of "Sit, stay, beg," when I have work to do. Unsolicited advice is rude, and unsolicited psychoanalyses are even ruder. Also, smiles are higher on the Maslow hierarchy, so I'd rather have an unsmiling nurse doing a code than a smiley nurse fumbling around.
    You really need to lighten up. Your vibe is so negative and that is not good in a healthcare setting where your surrounded by people.
  13. by   FireStarterRN
    This all sounds like ridiculous, immature melodrama to me, from start to finish.

    The original post was far to long for me to read, but it reminds me of high school.

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