Sexism in Nursing (a male point of view) - page 6

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   fergus51
    Why do all of us enlightened people think that sexism is wrong, yet feel it's perfectly acceptable to generalize about an entire gender?

    Mario, that is the type of thing I was talking about. Do you see? All the problems in nursing relate to the fact that we are mostly women and somehow defective, unable to concentrate on anything but gossip and backbiting. I have heard this so often that it gets tiring, from both men and other women. Could you imagine if we said this type of thing about other groups in society? "You know that whole racism thing jut hasn't been solved because minoroties just can't get their act together"... I detest hearing people say that nursing is in the state it is because we women just couldn't get it together. It's not only wrong and simplistic and I dare say sexist, but completely ignores the strides nursing has taken in the last 30 years.
  2. by   Youda
    i'd just like to point out that sjoe's point is being demonstrated for him.
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Whether sjoe is right or not, I totally agree w/fergus' post here. I too, am sick of hearing that all the problems in nursing lie with the fact it is a primarily female-dominated profession. I myself would love to get past it......
  4. by   nurs4kids
    Soooo, let's see..
    Nursing is in poor health because it's female dominated..
    and men in nursing are treated unfairly??

    I think we have a case of trying to pass the buck to women, period. First of all, nursing isn't in such bad shape if you compare it to other fields where one can work with as little as a one year degree. To blame women for the woe's of nursing is nothing more than an easy explanation. I've worked with many male nurses and the only difference I see is that there IS a preference among female patients to not have male nurses doing caths, etc. I wouldn't want a male nurse cathing my 3yr old daughter and it's nothing against male nurses. It's a simple fact that I don't want my daughter to become accustomed to a man touching her private area, as this is something she knows is forbidden. A male doctor? Society has placed doctor's (male esp) on a pedestal..they are not typical in society's eyes..not average. Male nurses are average. So, it's easier to accept a male doc examining a female than it is a male nurse. Sad, but fact. Beyond that limitation, I have witnessed no other difference. The men are just as moody, just as *****y..even moreso at times, just as back-biting...just as human as the women. I think it's become all too easy for a male to blame his own problems on women. If you aren't accepted, it just may be because of your personality, not because you have an extra appendage in your pants. I worked with one man who was built like a body builder, but couldn't hold a two year old down for someone to place an IV. In our field, technique counts much more than brutal strength. I watch our 100lb female PT's lift patients that our male nurses could only dream of's technique. And attitude. When I need assistance lifting a patient, I don't go looking for a man, I go looking for the person that I know doesn't mind helping.

    Soooo, women quit allowing people to play victim to us! The more outspoken women become, the more we are blamed for being catty...wonder why that is? If you think women are to blame for the woes of nursing because of cattiness, etc..I challenge you to walk down to your Maintenance Department and stand outside the door for an hour or'll find the same sheit. For years, I was friends with several maintenance guys because I worked across the hall from the dept. I have never heard so much cat fighting in my life. So much fear one was going to get one-up on another. Hubby works Mnt. now, it hasn't changed. Oh yeah, most of these guys have a 2 yr degree too...their starting pay is about $6/hr less than ours. Now, how bad is nursing again??

    Five out of ten of our head nurses are male, yet only about one out of ten of our nurses are male. Now which way does that sexism play? A male nurse who applies himself and who has hopes of moving up the ladder has a much better chance than his female counterparts. He stands out from the beginning because he is outnumbered.

    So, nursing is not a bad field and we need to quit advertising that it is..otherwise we're going to determine it's fate. Negativity will eventually lead to negative circumstances.

    And for you guys that feel used by nursing..come work with me, you'd never have to worry about me requesting your brutal strength. I'd rather have the little frail female nurse that's been doing this 30 years. She doesn't mind helping...she knows the whole goal is to help the patient, not to gain pity for herself.
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Having come from a military background I kinda saw the "reverse" of such perceived discrimination. My goal was to break the stereotypes men in the military had conceived of us (in for "one reason only" was common)....I never, ever leaned on men to do my job for me, and did my work with the utmost integrity.....yea there was sometimes harassment..sometimes blatant even........yea teasing....initial condescension and disrespect from male coworkers and supervisors...I dealt with it by being the BEST in my work area, not letting the bast@rds get me down, forming strong bonds with the few other women working where I was.......and guess what, it worked. I gained respect and trust among all my coworkers...male and female. I learned alot in the process about others, but more importantly, myself and my capabilities.

    Instead of complaining, (not saying complaint is not legit), we should be DOING AND ACTING to change things. If this is a problem for you, do what you can to CHANGE IT...... This is just my take on it.....from a woman who spent 10 years working in a "man's world" and survived it with my self-respect intact (perhaps improved!)......
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 20, '02
  6. by   Glad2behere

    Correct! An obvious fact is not so obvious. Any idea duefully submitted upon request is not safe from the ravages of dissection. The idea itself is soon lost and dismissed as having any validity because it is perceived as a threat, so the next line of defense is to discredit it and thump thy chest in merits earned and rewards denied. I'll bet there is a direct correlation between more men entering nursing and the rise in nurse compensation in recent years. Any speculation in that regard?
  7. by   Youda
    Oh, Glad2behere, do you really want to hear from me again on this subject? I'd pretty much thought it was better to shut-up.
    I can understand the defensiveness created with sjoe's post. No one, including an entire gender, wants to hear that they have a wart on their nose. But, there is truth there, whether or not we can objectively look at it. Too often, everything must be painted in black and white. If there is a problem brought up, it seems to get exaggerated to mean "all problems in nursing are caused by women." When anyone who has any logical ability realize that not ALL women will fit that description, but enough of them do to causes problems in the workplace. Once that defensiveness begins, I think it tends to fog the probability of creative and open dialogue.

    In the meantime, the subject (male bias in nursing) has been totally lost while the women try to defend a post made a couple of days ago.

    Just one comment: yes there are other degrees in other professions and those people are just as prone to negativity and one-up-manship as any other profession. Except we didn't go to school to learn accounting or auto mechanics. We were suppose to learn, among other things, problem-solving, cultural awareness, open-ended questions, gender differences and how it affects each of us, therapeutic communication . . . I hope we practice these skills better with our patients than we do with each other.

    Don't misunderstand me. I'm not blaming or criticizing or getting negative or or or or or . . . just making observations.

    I'm just trying to say: why can't we talk about a problem when it is brought to the table? Everytime we can't do that, we just disprove in action what you are trying so hard to prove in words. Peace!

    (I really should proofread before I click the button!)
    Last edit by Youda on Nov 20, '02
  8. by   nurs4kids
    Are you saying we have to agree that it's a problem or else we are being defensive? I happen to disagree, period. I'm not being defensive..I'd have to be offended first. I simply think you have to step back and look at the whole picture, not just the perspective from the male nurse. Of course, we could just all agree with him, support him in his quest for compassion...and blindly accept opinions as fact. Or, we can discuss the big picture and perhaps shed new light on the picture..

    Peace to you too, my friend !
  9. by   sanakruz
    No- Youda is saying acknowledge that which sjoe is seeing is real to him. Its not productive to invalidate another's perceptions. To do so closes the line of communication. If you look you will see.
  10. by   Youda
    originally posted by
    no- youda is saying acknowledge that which sjoe is seeing is real to him. its not productive to invalidate another's perceptions. to do so closes the line of communication. if you look you will see.
    thank you !!!

    someone heard me!!!
  11. by   sanakruz
    Youre welcome my dear.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I Hear you too denying that sexism in nursing...or anywhere is VERY real. I would never argue that. What a person perceives is truly valid to him/her. But I find it much more useful to act rather than complain, I guess. It certainly has brought out much interesting dialogue here nonetheless. We certainly do not have to agree to learn things here!

    One more point I pondered: Someone mentioned that perhaps any increase in pay or status of nursing is possibly due to more men entering. Really? Then why does that not apply everywhere where men dominate a given career? Example; U.S. military....where responsibility and liability can be just as great? On any given day, my husband has been responsible for upwards of $100 million in aircraft and equipment---- not to mention the lives of pilots and crewmembers in his maintenance practices of said aircraft. How is it so many civvies with the same training, responsibility, and education make so much more? The military is definately MALE-DOMINATED, but I have yet to see the status and huge pay that ostensibly go with it being a male-dominated career choice. Just an observation my part.

    I don't think men entering nursing is responsible for any increase in status/and/or pay we have enjoyed in recent years. I think there is more to it than that. That said, I welcome men and women who care and are competent to work by my side, anytime.
  13. by   shrek
    If an indivual needs my help... male or female it dosen't matter. I'll do what I can. I know if I need a hand I'll get it, I don't think sex has anything to do with it. If another nurse needs help with an obese pt, male or female, I'm there. I think it's all about teamwork. Whatever gets us through the shift.