CNAs and Nurses Referred to as "Girls"

  1. I was a dietary aide when I was in high school...way back in the late 80s. The facility I worked at had a lot of issues with various departments not getting along. The administrator had a "teambuilding expert" do an inservice on teamwork and respect.

    On of the things the expert said stuck with me and still bothers me. She said that no one on the staff should be referred to merely by their gender. She strongly suggested that we not refer to the maintenance staff as "the guys" or the nursing staff as "the girls." It honestly drives me crazy when someone approaches me and asks something like, "Where are your girls?" or "Can you get a girl to take Mildred potty (you probably don't want me to talk about how much I HATE the word "potty!").

    Does it bother anyone else when CNAs and nurses are referred to as "girls" rather than by their name or title? I honestly don't ever remember anyone asking the housekeeping supervisor if one of her "girls" can mop a room after a spill. No one asks the dietary supervisor if her "girl" can take a coffee cart to a room for a family.

    Why do people think it is alright to call the nurses and CNAs "girls?"
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    Joined: Dec '02; Posts: 1,368; Likes: 996

    9 Comments

  3. by   ponymom
    I've honestly never heard any of this in any of my nursing jobs, ever.
  4. by   llg
    I've heard it -- less today than in the past. When I hear it, I correct it. I comment on it being inappropriate.
  5. by   shlbtlr
    I haven't been called 'girl' by other members of staff, but this has frequently happened with older patients. My least favorite was the time that an older patient who literally was placed on step-down because she "wanted a suite and would pay for it" told me while checking her vitals at the start of shift, "are you that bath girl that's going to bathe me? I don't know why you're taking so long!" I honestly don't think being referred to as "that girl" would've been that bad but the way she insulting referred to me as just the bath girl really pissed me off.

    I proceeded to inform her that I was a nurse tech, and while yes, I do bathe patients, it would have to wait until other tasks were performed first. It would be about another 30 minutes before I could bathe her, but assured here I would do so before she went to bed. Some patients have zero respect, and tend to think they're the only one.
  6. by   Emergent
    It's not politically correct, but it doesn't bother me. In fact, at my age, it's nice to hear.

    A couple of years ago I was putting around on my small motorboat, and someone wolf whistled me from the road. Now, mind you I'm in above average shape and look pretty decent in a tank top and shorts, but they obviously weren't close enough to see my age.

    Naturally, I was pleased, but when I was younger I would have been uncomfortable and felt like some jerk was seeing me as a sex object!
  7. by   Have Nurse
    No, but at my age I think it's charming. LOL
  8. by   Have Nurse
    [QUOTE=shlbtlr;9813970]I haven't been called 'girl' by other members of staff, but this has frequently happened with older patients. My least favorite was the time that an older patient who literally was placed on step-down because she "wanted a suite and would pay for it" told me while checking her vitals at the start of shift, "are you that bath girl that's going to bathe me? I don't know why you're taking so long!" I honestly don't think being referred to as "that girl" would've been that bad but the way she insulting referred to me as just the bath girl really pissed me off.

    I proceeded to inform her that I was a nurse tech, and while yes, I do bathe patients, it would have to wait until other tasks were performed first. It would be about another 30 minutes before I could bathe her, but assured here I would do so before she went to bed. Some patients have zero respect, and tend to think they're the only one. (Quote)

    It isn't really reasonable to expect a patient or a Resident to constantly remember your name/title. True, there are those who seem to go out of their way to be abnoxious, but it sounds like you handled it ok.
  9. by   flashpoint
    I think there is a big difference in a resident referring to us as the "girls" and a coworker asking the charge nurse if I can have a "girl" take Mildred to the bathroom. I don't call them the "cleaning girls" or the "dish washing girl." I just feel like the CNAs on my team also deserve the respect of either their name or title. I am pretty tolerant of whatever the residents call us.
  10. by   kbrn2002
    Is this a regional thing maybe? I've never run into that at all. We do have a few male CNA's that most likely wouldn't take kindly to being called one of "the girls" so there is that also.
  11. by   Neats
    I think it is the ages we work with in a facility. Skilled Nursing Facilities use to be called Nursing Home and prior to that they were home for the aged also known as almshouses. These first homes were developed by religious groups and focused on widows and the poor, the term "poor house" came from these environments. With the development of the industry revolution it became apparent the United States has issues with their elders and then developed pension plans in hopes to stop the "poor houses". The development of social security and the Medical Facilities Survey and Construction Act of 1954 has propelled nursing facilities into what it is today.

    Traditionally women would work in theses "poorhouses" the men would run these "poor houses" and you would never see them only the women nurses. Most families would talk about the girls that took care of their loved ones. It is hard to move forward when you are taught at an early age the concept of something and then it changes, you know it has changed but you continue to call the staff the girls, it is how you were raised and what you learned. Most of the time I do think when a patient calls staff their girls they are being endearing, some others maybe not so much. As a nurse I know I am not going to change someone...think about the dietary habits when they are diabetic, they have lived over 80 years why would I try to change them, I might as well hit my head against a brick wall. I just meet people where they are, each generation is different. We should allow for this as long as it is not against the law.

    So there you have it a nursing home history lesson that could explain why we are called girls.

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