Being a man in the field - page 3

Hi all i'm a female pre- nursing student and was just wandering how you men felt being in a class with mostly women.Is it uncomfortable?How do you cope and why did you choose it as a career?Hope i... Read More

  1. by   KatieKt
    Quote from Richw
    I don't think all men have the maturity to work in obstetrics (particularly after reading this) but for those that do there should not be the barriers that exist.
    This is true. Thats why I was somewhat surprised to find out my male coworker in the L&D/postpartum ward was not doing perineal checks, merely asking the women about their swelling/bleeding etc. :uhoh21: The only barrier I can see would be religious reasons.

    You know....something crazy and unrelated. But we had some hospital food techs refuse to bring food into the rooms on our ward because they were embarrased when they saw a woman breastfeeding. I mean..dont they screen these people?
  2. by   rpv_rn
    richw: i liked your comments.

    it's a shame when instructors limit male students to specific patients. male nursing students need the exposure & experience along with their female counterparts.

    as for male catheterizing females, etc., unfortunately, it is for your own protection. when male students perform female peri-care, there is usually a female student in the room with him.

    i agree with your comment regarding the perineal area. it is part of a human being's anatomy, just as the gastro-intestinal or cardiovascular system is. it's the social issue of being "sexual" body part that new/ incoming students have to overcome. we also have to respect our patients' feelings and values about the perineal and breast areas.

    when male & female nursing students communicate and behave in a professional manner, patients will be more accepting with assessment or care of their "private parts." i have witnessed from young to elderly female patients accept their male nurses without problems.

    competent therapeutic communication is a learned skill that both female & male nursing students must accomplish.
  3. by   auto5man
    RichW, I particularly enjoyed your comments and take on the discussion.

    My experience as a male in a female dominated profession...

    Choosing nursing for me was almost accidental when I remember back. My upbringing was very traditional with definite ideas about the roles of men and women. I always had a very close relationship with my father (a lifetime of hunting and fishing toegether forged a close relationship) but he had a problem with my choice of nursing at first....I distinctly remember the rift it caused initially b/c of his "old fashioned" ideas of male and female roles. Socially things were very different in the world he grew up in compared to the world I grew up in so I could understand his feelings. I think it was just the initial shock for him that was hard, b/c as soon as he was used to the idea he had no further issues with it (perhaps mom gave him a good talking My study path in college was a little less than deliberate as well, so perhaps he thought it was just another fad. I floundered around with several different majors trying to settle on a course of study. Nothing felt right. I never would have come up with nursing as a choice on my own either, b/c I had a fairly traditional attitude on nursing roles myself (nurses are women). My meandering path of course study in college brought me to a crisis of sorts, and a willingness to think in different ways. I had lots of girl friends at that time who were all nursing students....I can still remember the conversations. Them... "Have you ever thought about being a nurse?". Me...."Are you kidding?? Men aren't nurses!". Them...."Sure they are, we have LOTS of guys in our class". Me ..."Really?" ....and thats how the idea was born in my head. I wasn't sure if I could even tolerate the sight of blood ( I was a business finance manager at that time) so I got a job as an attendant in a local hospital to test the waters. I loved it and the rest is history.

    There were about 10 guys in my class of 60 students so I had good company. We did get extra attention but it was welcome attention. I remember feeling a little funny at first, but it was an easy adjustment. My dean, school, instructors, and university all created a forward thinking environment so perhaps that made it easier. I remembered feeling a little funny about OB at first, but again it was an easy transition! My rotation was in the "charity" hospital with indigent type patients. Believe me, those women didn't seem to care if you were male, female, student or otherwise as their nurse! They were not uncomfortable with me as a male, so in turn I wasn't uncomfortable. They were just grateful to have someone caring for them. I loved OB and thought about going into it, but ER was my first love.

    The environment you work in (geographical, social) I've found plays a big part in attitudes towards males and particular tasks (like catheterization). The attitude at my first ER (management attitude) was to treat males and females no a male nurse I was expected to cath males and females alike and that was the expectation. That being said, precautions must be taken for legal considerations. There should always be two present in the room preferably opposite sex. If the doctor is female, then I will assist in pelvic exam situations, etc. This may not be politically correct or forward thinking, but believe me its legally practical and protects you as the nurse. Many people do not care WHOSE live they ruin with false accusations in their desire for easy money. The current ER environment I work in though, the attitude is a little different. As a general rule, males cath males, and females cath females- but this is a general rule. Being flexible is the rule of the day here.

    My choice of specialty (ER) has also made it very easy to be a male in a female dominated profession. Honestly, there are just as many male nurses as female nurses, and this has pretty much been the case throughout my career. I don't even think about it any more (being a male in female dominant profession), because it has become normal in my world. I still hunt, fish, camp, watch sports, (Monday night football is back!!), play poker, hang with the guys, without a thought that I'm any different from my bud sitting next to me at the poker table who happens to be a banker. I am happily married with two beautiful daughters and loving wife. I think my professional experience has made me a better person, a better father, and a better husband.

    One funny thing in gives me a unique and entertaining perspective. I can remember as a teen wishing I could be a fly on the wall close to where a bunch of girls were talking. Now its like....I AM!! You wouldn't believe the things I've heard over the years because the women treat us males as if we are one of them!! I can also identify with one of the posters who made the comment about remembering not to assimilate TOO much in being "one of the girls". Males and females BOTH bring something uniquely different to the profession of nursing.


  4. by   dawg07
    I am glad to se some maturity in the postings. I have been a RN for 3 yrs now and started in the field I loved, ER and ICU. I am now a clinical advisor in an ICU and float to the ER. I went full time to the ICU b/c of discriminatory attitudes and preferential treatment by the female supervisors toward women. I believed then and still believe that professionals are professionals, however, as mentioned in a previous post, judious actions (being culturally, religiously, and ethically aware) can prevent problems. Especially in cases where there is the potential for accusations of abuse (pelvic exams or pericares). I have only ran into two incidents where a patient has asked for a female nurse, and those were related to religious and cultural reasons, and I happily honored those requests. The attitudes that bother me are the female peers that think a male nurse is only a portable forklift, and should not be allowed to perform cres on a female.
    Unfortunately, I have run into this several times, and I always ask if they feel that a male nurse should accompany them with cares that might require exposure of genital areas. They all replied an unequivical "NO" because men aren't embarrassed or are happy to have a female provide those cares. I then gently point out that men can be and are often embarrassed as well as women, and use a few examples from experience like the man who came in with a "diffuse abdominal pain" that was relieved that he had a male because he could then be open about the large growth on a testical that was bothering him and the real reason for his visit. And yes it was testicular cancer, but the young gentleman is doing well and adjusting well.
    Overall, I feel that beeing a man in nursing is much more rewarding than my prior life (US Army, 22yrs, reconnaissance). It is a fulfillment of a life long goal, and I have my sights set on being a midlevel provider, ARNP. So for those of you who are students, or are chosing nursing as a second career, go for it! Be professional, and be yourself. Use common sense, and be judicious in each situation. Use good critical thinking skills and remember that like women in male dominated fields, your actions and professionalism reflect much more brightly that in fields where the playing field is more equitable.
    Don't discriminate, and don't allow discrimination. Address the problem with those that cause it in a direct, but non-hostile manner and use the available resources or your employer if you encounter problems that can't be resolved at the lowest level by direct communication. (that is advice for women as well as men) Enjoy your career!
  5. by   NurseTomasAZ
    Hey Nurses,

    I'm one of three men in a small town junior college RN program, that totals eleven, in Arizona. We're also a rather old group -- this is the second career for most of us, and the median age is 40! So far, there haven't really been ANY awkward or uncomfortable moments... While we are very aware that we are entering a profession still dominated by women, that dominance is fast changing. I really think that within my lifetime a quarter to a third, or maybe even half the nurses will carry a Y chromosome. We have been welcomed warmly in clinicals, and by our patients, every time.

    Maybe it's just Arizona (where we have maybe the nation's highest percentage of female politicians), but people don't really register much surprise at seeing a male nurse anymore. They're just happy to have a nurse around!

    Second semester Maternity Nursing was a bit eye-popping for us three guys, but good humor and good sense made it all go smoothly. I have, however, decided that my male RN friend in Tucson had it right when he insisted that "a woman's fundus is her business!"

    In short, I haven't regretted this career change for a minute, and I think my male collegues would say the same. What an adventure!
  6. by   Nitngale
    I'm not a guy but I'll give you a different perspective. I've always worked in male dominated jobs--heavy equipment mechanic, welding, law enforcement and I personally think that women make it easier for a guy to feel comfortable. I put up with alot of jokes but I never complained and eventually was excepted. I tell people that I understand men better than women. The only problem I have with men in nursing is that the population of men wanting to become nurses seemed to be directly related to the increase in salaries for nurses. Back when it was a four year degree and low pay, men didn't want to do it, though there was also the 'social' stigma at the time. Society does not 'train' men in childhood (dolls, empathy, taking care of sibilings) as they do women, so the men, unless raised in a family with tons of kids, tend to have to acquire this in clinicals.
    I'll never forget when my Mom had bypass surgery. Her male nurse had hands so large that it hurt her when he changed her pressure stockings. But also he could pick her up by himself if needed.:wink2:
  7. by   droadracer
    I am an older male who has applied to nursing school...All the coments were so helpful from both male and female nurses. Thanks!!!
  8. by   sayitgirl
    It's always good to have a man on the job, women are from Venus and men from Mars. We need the variety, believe me....
  9. by   enoRN
    girl, its not only u that wonders how the men feel, infact the men in my class behave like women, i guess they might have been encoraged by the parents to join nursing 'cos of their soft nature
  10. by   enoRN
    but all the same i wish men were more in the profession it would have made it more interesting
  11. by   Nitngale
    Quote from enobong
    girl, its not only u that wonders how the men feel, infact the men in my class behave like women, i guess they might have been encoraged by the parents to join nursing 'cos of their soft nature
    Are your classes in Nigeria? My experience has been that the male nurses I see are just regular men not 'soft', whatever that means. The profession requires a certain amount of decorum. I would not expect males to come to work shirtless and with a beer in one hand and a remote in the other. And most men aren't like that anyway( at least in my experience). When actually practicing nursing there should be no he/she, just what was taught in school and most importantly an empathy and concern for the patient (something that alot of doctors lack)
  12. by   danh3190
    I'm a brand new nursing student and frankly when I'm in class I'm not thinking about how most of my classmates are female. I'm just trying to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be memorizing and what's going to be on the test! Of course we don't have any clinicals this term. Maybe I'll feel differently then.
    The comments of some males in the various forums have me a bit worried. I hope I'll be trained in all aspects of nursing both on males and on females. Although I doubt I'll want to work in an area with a female dominated patient population, it seems to me that the "RN" is a promise to our patients that we've been competently trained to help both halves of the population.
  13. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from Nitngale
    though there was also the 'social' stigma at the time. Society does not 'train' men in childhood (dolls, empathy, taking care of sibilings) as they do women, so the men, unless raised in a family with tons of kids, tend to have to acquire this in clinicals.
    Please realise - I'm not picking on you - merely responding to your posts with views of my own

    I do agree with you on societal roles regarding males - but I disagree with you as to your final conclusions.

    Just because men aren't taught to play with dolls doesn't mean they won't be caring in nature - just as "just because women aren't taught to play rough and at cops n robbers doesn't mean they won't make effective CEOs or Law Enforcement Officers".

    I wasn't raised in a family with a ton of kids - but I'd like to think that I'm a very empathetic and effective nurse

    Again - I'm not picking on you and I most certainly apprecitate your opinion (please don't think otherwise!).

    My honest opinion? I really don't think men and women are ALL that different. I really do think that our definition of "man" and "woman" and "roles" comes from our (taught rather than ingrained) perception of society - and our perceptions are never worldwide. Meaning "what we think is true for the goose and apply to the duck and chicken might not really apply to the duck and chicken". [In simple terms anyhow]

    I've enjoyed the discussion over the last two pages

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