Lack of male role models and excess of estrogen


Hey guys, 24 yr old nursing student here.

I'm in my second level, (graduate Dec 5!) and right now i can't help but wonder if i made the right decision to go to nursing school.

A little about me; i played football for 13 yrs (including 3 in college), I was a premed student and i loved the sciences, but after re-thinking my life goals being a doctor didn't really fit in with them. A doctor i shadowed turned me on to nurse anesthesia, and since anesthesia was one of the areas of medicine i was already interested in, it seemed like a great fit.

So here i am currently, doing nursing, which is consisting of making beds, changing dressings and pushing a few meds. While i see the med students walking around on my floor doing rounds and actually discussing how to treat the patient, i'm in my pt's room making a bed while my teacher blabs on about what this person "really" needs on a holistic approach.

I don't know if i'm retarded in this area or if it is just more difficult for guys than girls to think this way, but my teacher is always over emphasizing the family needs, patient needs and discharge planning. Stating the obvious is never enough for her, she gets extremely in depth on with the whole emotional and psycho-social aspect of things. I feel more like, whats the problem and i'll fix it, i'll leave the rubbing your back and saying sweet comforting and encouraging words to someone else.

Now i'll probably get flammed by some of you and thats ok. But i just feel like this whole nursing profession is super feminine is all aspects. Literally our job is to "care" for the patient. In scottland, nurses are called sisters and one of their duties is to serve tea to everyone at a certain time. I just feel like there is a reason most nurses are females, because females are naturally more intuitively caring individuals, most likely due to their maternal instincts. Plus what we learn in school is soooo boring. It's all memorized facts with none of the in-depth concepts, and its more gray than black and white. More of the "art" and less of the "science." So i told my teacher that i feel as if i have to endure bedside nursing until i can apply for CRNA school, NP school or Med school.

Maybe i just havent found my niche in nursing yet, maybe it is the fact that i'm the only guy on the floor who is a nurse, idk exaclty what it is, but i was just seeing if anybody else had similar feelings and if things got better or what they did.

Also, did u guys join the nursing profession to be a bedside RN, or did u have other plans. Do you really love the nursing model or is this sort of a back door route to practice medicine (NP, CRNA) without the life commitment and having a comfortable salary and great job?

Anyways, just wanted to get some other guys perspective on this subject. Shoot out your thoughts and feelings of being a male surrounded by (ofter bitter old) women.

P.s. not sure if i have to clarify, but no i'm not gay. I'm not some dumb insensitive jock (even tho i admit i might come across that way in this rant), i am caring and i do want to help people, i just want to help them things i think are important. I didnt go to school for 6 years to make beds and wipe butts, i could be room service in a hotel if i wanted to do those sort of things.

p.s.s. sorry for the long rant, and probably sloopy writing. I'm too tired to edit this


32 Posts

Hey man ;

It may just be your hospital. Everywhere I go, the nurses are always very busy doing medical things and the CNAs do most of the stuff you're describing. The foundation of nursing does come from a foundation of that type of "caring" you implied. Really, I'm thinking you're on a lousy floor. Try working in an ED or ICU and you'll be doing more "manly" things. Or better yet, apply now to MSN/DNP programs and get where you want to be.

I'm in the same boat as you, but attending a NP program. But, you must realize that in order to be a NURSE practitioner, you must engage yourself in the entire NURSING experience. Why didn't you apply to PA school to get a more medical practice approach to health care?

BTW - You don't have to worry about making a point to assert your heterosexuality as a p.s., you already went out of your way to do it at the beginning (football, premed). But, I have to tell you that from your writing, you come across like you're about an inch away from dotting your I's with a little heart! ;)

; Dave (Queer dude.)


59 Posts

Dude, you sound exactly like me, word for word. I was half-way through nursing school and i realized it wasnt for me. Everything you have brought up are the reasons why i decided I didn't want to do it. I thought about being a PA and still think about it, but right now im ok with working on the business side of the hospital.


11 Posts

As stated before, in most hospitals CNAs or maybe even LVNs will do the dirty jobs before you will. Also there are many jobs that you can have as an RN that have little to do with direct patient care if it's not your thing. I felt the same way in the beginning of the school but then as I had more rotations at different hospitas the "unsure" feeling has gone away.


1 Article; 301 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry/PCU, SNF. Has 5+ years experience.

Just because you're a bedside RN, doesn't mean it's all changing beds, cleaning poop, rubbing backs and whispering comforting words into the ears of LOLs. Sure, when necessary I'll do that, but also I'll be interpreting their rhythm, trying to figure out why they hypotensive, seeing if they need a tweak to their meds, how they're handing the drip, treating chest pain while shooting a 12-lead or watching for the signs and symptoms that their condition is deteriorating. There's plenty of science at the bedside as well.

So maybe being at the bedside isn't for you. Big deal. It's not the end of the world. Nursing is so wide open that you can find your niche that speaks to your needs and desires. But I do think that if you feel this is just "doin' time" to get to where you want to be, you won't take the lessons available to be learned. Yeah, sure it sounds a little hippy-dippy, New Age estrogen influenced and maybe it is...

At first, I chafed under the realization that the whole "CNA duties" was all I was doing, but you know, it's part of the game. I also came to realize that by being willing to the CNA-type tasks, I gained credibility with the CNAs, which in the end made my life easier. It's just part of the job that I accepted.

Don't worry, find the niche and you'll be fine.

Good luck,



155 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

Great thread. I have these thoughts occasionally I suppose, but I know that I have a great future ahead of me and do see RN's or Advanced RN's (males and females) doing things I would really enjoy doing. I think being in this field at this time and being a male in this field in almost the end of the "change" from being an almost strictly female to both male and female career would suffice for these doubts or thoughts.

One of the things that keeps me going is my final destination. To be honest I am not sure if I would do this if I didnt have confidence that I would find my niche in this field. I think thats what you have to stay focused on especially if thats one of the main reasons you got into nursing in the first place.

Specializes in Cardiac ICU.
Hey man ;

Or better yet, apply now to MSN/DNP programs and get where you want to be.

Why didn't you apply to PA school to get a more medical practice approach to health care?

BTW - You don't have to worry about making a point to assert your heterosexuality as a p.s., you already went out of your way to do it at the beginning (football, premed). But, I have to tell you that from your writing, you come across like you're about an inch away from dotting your I's with a little heart! ;)

; Dave (Queer dude.)

haha, thanks for the laugh. I'm not sure how someone comes across gay in a blog but... i'm sure your the authority on this matter, not me. lol

The reason i didnt apply to a PA school is you need a whole bunch of infield experience before you can be accepted and also, i got into nursing to be a CRNA. No offense to any AA's out there, but i don't think they compare quite as well. Less autonomy, pay, respect etc.

Also, i'm still in my BSN program, so i can't really apply to an MSN/DNP program yet. I'm hopeful things will get better and i'm trying not to make a judgement on the nursing profession as a whole (even tho i already did) quite so early in my career training. Especially since i'm only half way through the accelerated BSN.

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Lot of good points above.

To follow-up on what Spatalized wrote, "...I'll be interpreting their rhythm, trying to figure out why they hypotensive, seeing if they need a tweak to their meds, how they're handing the drip, treating chest pain while shooting a 12-lead or watching for the signs and symptoms that their condition is deteriorating." Where I am, the docs really like it when YOU have a plan in mind when you call them with a change in the pt's condition.

Head for the ER and work nights. Testosterone flows from everyone regardless of gender :D

Specializes in Emergency, MCCU, Surgical/ENT, Hep Trans. Has 20 years experience.

Just get thru it. You are NOT the first student nurse with a penis or "that feeling." Are there any other boys in the class? If not, veer toward sportsminded girls. Talk to your girlfriend, she can be a support. You might find that you get to know your mother in a different, positive way. It was painful for me at times, but I tried to remember a person is a person, despite their organs, race, socioeconomics, politics, etc.

The world of nursing is turning more and more male by the decade. Men tend to steer toward the more technical areas (ED, ICU, OR, PACU, GI, etc), but I know several that work on the floors for several reasons. I worked a floor for six years, then became the asst manager for four and had to endure a "bitter old woman."

I bet you are more nurturing than you think. I had a wise, older nursing professor who told us..."I can teach you to be a nurse, I cannot teach you to be nurturing, empathetic and caring. Your parents, your friends, your God and your soul will help you with that. Let me know their secrets!" But, she really enjoyed the male students, understanding, we had "that feeling."

Good luck!


42 Posts

Specializes in psyche, dialysis, community health. Has 7 years experience.

I became a nurse because every day when I punch in I get to make a fundamental and direct impact in people's lives. It's that simple. Not easy. But it's simple.

You're at UNR? That's have a fantastic program. And Washoe MC is a fantastic hospital. I worked Burning Man for years and I was always impressed every time I went there.

You're breaking new ground here. Well... new enough ground. I'd love to beat the gender stereotypes horse right now, but that's another post. Anytime you're an outsider, there's gonna be mind-numbing, frustrating and awkward situations that make no sense when you encounter the insiders. For example, it wasn't easy for women to break into the MD world. Their educational and professional stuggle makes our concerns look like a week at Club Med. That aside, give yourself some credit for breaking barriers. That takes courage and strength. It takes a courage and strength that your med school buddies decided to opt out of.

When I first started, I was skeptical of the "touchy feely", holistic model of nursing too. I used to be an engineer. I wanted to be given a problem and just fix it. There are still times, especially in psyche, when I yearn for that myth. The problem with "just fixing it" is that it relies on the way you define the problem. If you define the problem narrowly, it's easy to fix. I.E. - Blood sugar's at 300? Give 'em X units of insulin. Take their BSFS again in 20 mins... boom, it's down to 140. Problem solved.

However, are you gonna be there to do that every time they put something in their mouth, for the rest of their lives? You can't be. Even so, is the same solution always going to work? No. The problem's boundaries have suddenly expanded and that's where the holistic rubber meets the road - family teaching, patient teaching, discharge planning, dietary, PT, etc. It requires much more expertise than memorizing tables in a med book. Fail to do any of the above adequately, and you may very well see them again in 48 hours when they're hot, dry, anxious, possibly combative, and their vitals are higher than Snoop dogg in a penthouse in Amsterdam.

If patient teaching, etc isn't your bag (it's not mine), then aim for an area of medicine where that's less of a priority or the job is done by someone else entirely. Flight nurse? Transport? Trauma? Coroner? Corrections? (hate that euphemism). People's ED suggestion is on the money in my experience. ED is usually so slammed they don't have the time to give decent reports to ICU, much less do patient teaching. (No disrespect to ED and ICU).

Scut work is tedious. And there won't always be LVNs or CNAs to do it. Nor should they always be expected to. As a charge, I don't ask anyone to do a job that I wouldn't do myself. It ruins morale faster than AIG can move bonuses. There's a LOT of assessment data you can get from something as simple as changing sweat soaked sheets or emptying a bedpan with strange colored stool. You might just catch an impending, life-threatening, cardiac or GI problem that the labwork and the MD completely missed.

Keep the faith. You'll be out in December, right? December will be here before you know it. You will pass your boards and then you'll have your RN and you can do what you want with it - like be a strong candiate for CRNA.

Forgive me if I come across as preachy,



11 Posts

Fact: I don't have a penis . But I thought I could still have a little insite for the simple reason that I feel a lot like you do.

In the clinical setting I am often dissappointed. I am instructed to do similar things.... Make beds, wash people, ambulate patients, give them the bed pan , so on and so on. YES i do understand that is part of the job... YES I understand it has to be done... But Ive been a CNA for 4 years.. Im pretty sure I've mastered those skills :D. It is even more frustrating because now I am entering my 3rd semester and the majority of our clinical time is STILL focused on those aspects... Im with you.. I would much rather be focusing on my patients medications and effects...lab values and why... wound care... EKG readings...and so on... So on my end Ive come to the realization this is just how school is.. I educate myself a LOT outside of class Im constantly doing research and figuring things out on my own. Many nurses I have talked to have told me that you learn most when you are on the job. So keep on truckin threw school...Get out there get some real experience and THEN figure out what you want to do to advance... Thats what I would do.


32 Posts

I hear ya man. The thing of it is I guess, that even though nursing is a wide open field with lots of very varied specialties (flight nursing, community health, OB, OR, NICU, med/surg, assisted living, and on and on), we all (at least at my school) get trained as floor nurses for a Med/Surg unit. Not bad work mind you, just not at all what I want to do as a nurse. So I get frustrated when I feel like the emphasis is all on things I won't do in the real world or otherwise don't care about it, but I have also found that in the past, when I thought I was learing something stupid and pointless, sometime down the road, I often used that "stupid and pointless" knowledge. So I just keep plugging on and hope it will be the same here to, that even if I don't always know why it is important or care much about it, it may come in handy some day.

Keep on keepin' on.

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