Sexism in Nursing (a male point of view) - page 2

As a male in nursing, I feel that I am sometimes treated differently because of my gender. I believe that I am expected to carry a heavier patient load with less assistance from my female coworkers.... Read More

  1. by   BadBird
    I never thought about men being singled out until I read your thread. I personally just ask whomever is closest to me and not busy with their own patients. Of course when there is a truly obese patient and it takes 4 or 5 people to move them then all have to pitch in.

    After giving your thread some thought I noticed that when the hospital calls a code for a disruptive patient, the policy states all male nurses are to respond, that is sexist, I just never thought about it before thanks for bringing this to our attention.
  2. by   ANnot4me
    I'm glad I posted this because I am liking the feedback. I am not saying "I'm a male nurse and I'm so put upon." My point is that nursing is a female dominated profession and the working environment and culture reflects that and it's not always a good thing. It may not be PC to say so, but in order for nursing to attract and RETAIN more men, the culture may have to change and become more inclusive. For instance, I have worked with women who have become so stressed and exhausted that they broke down and began to cry; they were quickly rescued, their patients covered and they were given a break. In the same situation, a man (we are socialized vey differently) may become very angry and frustrated, but not get the same support form his coworkers because his behavior may be intreprted as aggressive, confrontational or hostile. It has certainly happened to me. I have been a nurse for 7 years and have adapted to the culture; however, it was difficult and sometimes very trying. No different than what many women must feel in male dominated professions.
  3. by   LoisJean
    I recall working in a hospital for a good number of years and maybe it would take 4 females to lift/turn/get up/lay down a 400 pound patient; or maybe it would take 3 or 4 females to restrain a combative male patient.....but, we did not once think about calling up nurse 'Jim' or orderly 'Don' from another floor to help or do it for us. Guess maybe I never thought about this until I read the posts....interesting points you fellows bring up. I recall filling in for a male nurse whose female patient refused to let him provide her bathing cares.....was okay with me, because the male nurse took over one of my patients.

    I can understand, tho, where male nurses might get called on a bit too frequently to do something that a couple of females could do with little difficulty.

    Had a patient come into the ER I worked in years back who was a Mexican and could not speak English. I had had 3 years of Spanish in High School but my recall was sketchy--and I certainly couldn't establish medical communication with him--wish we'd had a Spanish speaking worker to pull off of a unit to come down and help. The poor guy was scared stiff.

    I did work with a male nurse in Home Health Care and he said that the one reason he left the hospital was so that he could take care of patients like every other nurse without feeling like a "go-fer".

    But, NO!.....assignments ought to be fairly distributed between all nursing personnel.....not more to men than women.....that's just not right at all--most disrespectful and short sighted...IMHO.

    Lois Jean
  4. by   Tweety
    I do call upon my female coworkers to straight cath female patients in my assignment. I just don't cath alert and oriented female patients. Never have. Yes, I know that females have cathed men for eons, but all is not always equality. On the other hand I have been called upon to straight cath teenaged young men as well, so it does work both ways.

    Mario said it well. Respect is the key.

    On the other hand, why do my coworkers feel free to comment on my butt. If commented on someone's but (or even felt it, as has happened to me more than once) I would be fired for sex discrimination or assault.

    BTW is my butt getting big?
  5. by   recnurse1
    I think you should post a pic, 3rdshiftguy, and we can all decide!! LOL
  6. by   JonRN
    During my nusing career, I was expected to do my assignment in the SICU plus help with all the lifting, drunks fighting, help restrain psych pt.s and a million other things that I can't think of now. When one of my pr.s needed pulled up in bed, I did it. When one of the female nurses I worked with pt.s needed pulled up in bed, I helped them do it. Same for turning pt.s. Finally, my back could take no more, and I had a major career ending back injury. Did anyone I helped care? Maybe, but I was the one who wound up crippled for life. My advice? If you are male, don't try to prove how strong you are over and over. Ask your coworkers to get someone else to help them, just take your turn, don't try to do it all. If any female nurse is offended by this, I am sorry but it is the truth as I remember it.
  7. by   NurseDennie
    Nursing is just hard, if you ask me.

    I've also had a career ending back injury.

    Before that, when I could still do bedside care, we'd only ever had one male nurse on the floor at a time. Believe me, NOBODY went and got him to try to help pull or turn or ANYTHING like that. You grabbed the first person available, even if it's a teeny tiny pregnant nurse.

    I don't know if youre co-workers really are leaning on you for physical tasks more than is appropriate. But I can guarantee if you're Looking for it to happen, then it will.

    I think nursing is just hard.

    I think that the thing that would be more difficult for you male guy men nurse people would be, like chigap said, the difference in reaction to stress, anger, etc., etc., between men and women.

    Nursing remains, in my opinion, just bloody hard.


  8. by   Youda
    I hope I can find the words to express well what my idea is without sounding confrontational, either. If I fail to say this in a non-offensive way, please just realize there are limitations to the written word (and my abilities to express myself), OK?

    Chigap brought an issue to discuss that concerns him. What seemed to happen is that his viewpoint was minimized. What's been said is, basically, that since you're male, have more physical strength than women, OF COURSE you get called on to lift and do more. It seems that this is invalidating his issue, which is gender bias in nursing.

    During the women's movement in the 1980s we argued that we could do any job a male could do, and that despite our physical differences, we could perform traditional male jobs the same as a male. Women could be effective doctors, attornies, fighter pilots, etc. Many accustomed to the patronimical way of doing things argued that women were weaker, less capable of logical thought and discourse, physically incapable, and hormone driven.

    Now the tables are turned. Males are trying to fit into a female dominated workplace, instead of a female trying to fit into a male dominated workplace.

    I don't think we can afford to be insensitive to the issues brought up by Chigap. We can't possibly, as females, understand the experience. Bias is often too subtle to describe and encompass a series of individual, seemingly meaningless, events, but point to a larger PATTERN of prejudice. He brought ONE major example to support his observations and concerns (lifting). Let's not argue the validity of the one or two examples he used as a way to discount his point.

    Since we can't possibly understand, since we aren't male trying to fit into a female workforce, I think it is very important that we listen closely to the experience that males are having and reporting (this isn't the first time I've heard this).

    Instead of talking about whether or not the concern is a valid one, or justified BECAUSE he's male (It's OK for a male to get heavy patients BECAUSE he's male and stronger), I think we have to first ASSUME that it is valid, as a matter of respecting someone's experience, and find solutions and understanding.
  9. by   baseline
    I think his concerns are valid........I also know that I am often called by my male counterparts to do tasks that they or the female patient are not comfortable with.....I believe I stated earlier that prejudice many forms amongst us humans! I have not gone back to search the thread, but I believe other have stated other examples. Gender bias exists.........and it is a two way street.
  10. by   Rustyhammer
    After 15+ years as a nurse who has worked hospital, LTC, psych and administration I've come to the following conclusion...

    I'm just one of the girls.
  11. by   baseline
    After 15+ years as a nurse who has worked hospital, LTC, psych and administration I've come to the following conclusion...

    I'm just one of the girls.

    LOL.........Indeed ! And a dandy one at that! :-)
  12. by   canoehead
    I think that if you work anywhere for more than a year people get to know your strengths and weaknesses. So some are physically strong, some get assigned to all the depressed people, some do all the tough IV sticks, some get along with the pt that hates everyone else, etc, etc, etc...

    So you will be asked to do things that people know you can do, and they may have more difficulty with. Strength happens to be associated with sex- this does not make asking for a strong person sexual discrimination. Some males are weak as birds, and I imagine you know one that doesn't get asked to lift, but he has some other talent.

    BTW when I ask for help I have no problem with trading tasks with the person I'm asking. Make sure you ask for assistance as well as give it.
  13. by   fergus51
    I work L&D and until this job hadn't worked with male nurses since nursing school. I have to say, I don't see that type of sexism. If I know someone is strong, I will ask for help in moving a patient, but usually I am asking a strong female nurse because we so outnumber the men. As for security guard/bouncer, more often than not that job falls to me, I assume because I am fairly assertive despite the fact that I am not a big strong man.

    What I tend to see is that male nurses are so fawned over it is ridiculous. Probably because they are such a rarity in OB, but everyone makes such a biog deal about how great it is to see a "male nurse".