male nurses refusing to do certain treatments?

Nurses General Nursing


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57 Posts

I personally do feel that either male or female should be responsibile for the total care of their assigned patients. But, that one crazy patient will file a complaint with Administration about misconduct. It has happened before and will happen again. You will hear of more complaints from the female patient then the male, that is a fact.

Take a telemetry unit. Those lead pads are imfamous for falling off. Male nurse puts them back on. Next thing you know, you are being accused of sexual misconduct (feeling the woman's breast). I can only use my place of employment as an example due to not knowing any other hospital's policies. The nurse is the one who retains an attorney to defend against charges, hospital does not pay for any legal cost.

What we do in CCU where I work is trade off and mostly we just work together knowing what could happen in such incidences. Never trust that Administration is going to cover your butt in any situation.

Why do you think a male physician will have another person a female in the exam room for exams, pap smears, etc. To cover their butts. With our sue happy culture we cannot blame them. I am sure ithis has happened somewhere, but in 20years I have never experienced or heard of a male patient complaining that they were treated inapproperly.

My point is give a man a hand. If they are not willing to help you out (and it does not have to be with privacy issues) like go to Pharmacy to put up a drug or start an IV if you need help that's fine. But, if that male nurse never wants to trade off then tough luck for him and he better be awful careful, because I will leave him on his own. My husband is an RN and when his other coworkers are busy he calls me and I go do anything for him that someone could make into a sexual misconduct complaint. I do it for others too.

Vito Andolini

1,451 Posts

As a male nurse, I do it all. But I always have a female chaperone, just to be on the safe side. Why invite trouble?

It can be awkward and if any patient of either gender seems or is explicitly uncomfortable with me, I just get a different nurse to do whatever needs doing. It happens rarely. I am not offended, although it used to hurt my feelings when I was a new nurse. Now, i just let it all roll off and go on living, understanding that each of us is in our own space, marching to our own drummer, with different needs and views.


3 Posts

I am a male nurse currently working on a neuro floor and I often place foleys in female patients. But I always request that a female aide be present during the procedure. I've been told by a few male nurses to always be aware of a patients needs and wants, especially female patients because they may fell uneasy to have a male nurse. Also, I've had a few male patients who did not want female nurses once they realized a male nurse was on the floor and I've also had the wives of male patients request a male nurse if possible. But to me, a patient is a patient and I'm there to give care.

I'm just a student but an issue came up in class that really had me :confused: We were discussing med administration and vaginal suppositories. One of the male students in class asked if he would "have" to do that for a pt., or if he could delegate to another nurse. The part that most surprised me was that my nursing instructor told him it was fine, she had male nurses she worked with who refused to insert foley's on females and other procedures involving the peri area of women.

This just seems so unprofessional to me. A pt. is a pt. and if they need care, it's our job to provide it. I understand that we're in a crazy litigious society and she mentioned one male nurse who brought a female aide in when doing foley's and things (I understand that a lot more). But honestly, the tone from this male student and one other in class was more like "that's so gross, I can't handle it" rather than "I'm scared for my license".

Is this common? I've had male OB/GYNs care for me personally and didn't think twice. I guess it just made me uncomfortable the sexual implication that they seemed to be projecting onto a medical procedure. Am I just out of touch?


81 Posts

Women respond better to me if they think I am a male doctor ( not that I mislead them ) and will allow me to perform any procedure necessary. Some women and males as well will not hesitate to throw me out of the room when I tell them I am a male nurse. My female instructors at nursing school refused to allow me to take care of women until close to the end after much protest on my part to allow me to do so. We have a long way to go, not just in nursing, but in life as a whole.

Yes, we are always at risk for litigation even if we take all he necessary precautions. If a patient thinks she was touched inappropriately the patient's perception will win out in court or at least with your employer who will not defend you in a lawsuit so it is easier to get rid of you.

But let us face it - it may be very uncomfortable in some situations to provide care by a straight male nurse to some female patients and it all depends on the situation with which we are faced. Remember life does not end there for us :yawn:.

My female colleagues run to me when they need help inserting a Foley in a female and I will never refuse to provide care for anyone because that is what I want to do - provide care - but that does not mean that I must always like it.


81 Posts

Although you praise some I still think you are male bashing. Go bash something else. What may be true for some males is equally true for some females. I think we were trying to be constructive here.

Working in the nursing home I also noticed that a lot of male patients did not even want male CNAs. The males had very little workload where I was employed

nursemike, ASN, RN

1 Article; 2,362 Posts

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro).

The several posts about facilities not standing behind nurses accused of misconduct make a persuasive argument for carrying one's own . My carrier (nso) states they will defend my license before the BON, as well as against malpractice suits. I don't know that I can rely on them to defend me against criminal charges, though. It would probably be prudent to have enough money in savings to at least cover an attorney's initial retainer. Maybe I'll start working on that, after New Year's. (Hah!)


1,756 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN.

For me it's about preventing a complaint or lawsuit. In this state every prospective employer wants to know if you have ever been named in or as part of a legal complaint. They don't ask about the outcome.


151 Posts

It's inappropriate for a student to turn this stuff down. They need to know how to do it.

In practice, they can honor a patient request for a female to do these things. If the patient is unable to speak or there is no female nurse on the floor that day (it happens), they need to get a female aide--even from another floor--just to stand by in the room while they do the procedure.

Like it or not, we live in an insanely litigiuous society. Male nurses need to know how to cope with female anatomy. However, they also need to protect themselves on the job from lawsuits from patients who might not understand what was done and why or who might simply feel violated by a male providing intimate care.

This is all common sense stuff. The male students need to suck it up. They'll have female patients even if they choose to work in VA hospitals exclusively.

dizzy lizard

2 Posts

I work in a nursing home as a CNA and i have many male coworkers. In my three years of working there only one male has shown inappropriate behavior toward a female resident and he was let go. Most of the male nursing staff are very professional. One RN will not do any care on female without another female staff present.


6 Posts

Specializes in telemetry.

I can see both sides, but the patient is really the head of the team. I always ask in a kind way without putting a stigma on it. I don't say Hey you mind if I insert this foley. I tell them from the get go, if there is anything, and i tell my male patients too, that they feel uncomfortable about ...let me know. I want the best care for them it doesn't hurt my feelings. I do agree sometimes someone else needs to be in the room.

eriksoln, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 2,636 Posts

Specializes in M/S, Travel Nursing, Pulmonary.

Sometimes we get caught up in policy so much we forget, the patient holds the trump card for all treatment. I'm a male nurse and never refuse to do any procedure. I am the RN for the pt., I have a relationship with them and I am a better option for the care than a nurse who is a complete stranger to the pt. But I have been told by female patients they prefered a female nurse to do certain things. When that happens, I get one of the older experienced nurses who I've been lifting patients all day for to do the procedure. Its that simple.

Whether a male RN should perform a function or not depends on the pt., not how we or even our facility feels about it.

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