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Men in home health

Posted

Specializes in Med./Surg. and paramed. exams.

For the 18 months I've been a nurse I look at myself as a nurse. For the 2 years I was in nursing school, I looked at myself as a student nurse. Unfortunately, the public sees me as a male nurse, doctor in training, or something along those lines. With that said, I have recently spoken to a home health agency due to a job posting with that company for a part-time nurse position. I also realize and respect a patient's right to choose. I sent in my application/resume with my "male" name clearly at the top and the agency representative called me. He stated one problem upfront and that was I was a man (duh), anyway, since he called me, I continued to speak with him. He said most of their clients refuse male nurses and only want a woman as their nurse. I often thought to myself, "why are you calling me then?". This representative continued to call me occasionally over about 3 weeks wondering if I was still interested and even asking if I wanted something full-time (which I didn't, thats why I applied for their part-time posting), but during each call that he initiated, he would again re-state, that their clients refuse male nurses and only accept women as nurses into their home, which again made me think to myself, "why are you calling me?". I guess I should have asked him, but I didn't. This agency deals with pediatrics, which I am interested in, it doesn't deal with elderly ladies being too modest to have a male caregiver. I guess my point or question after all this rambling is this, are home health agencies really asking patients their preference? How are they asking them their preference? Is the client generally saying we want a female nurse because the general public often sees women as nurses? Any advice? Maybe its just this one home health agency? Home health is one field I would like to venture into, but its been difficult for me to get my big feet in the door.

My guess is that he is telling you this so that you are primed with their excuse for not keeping you working as much as you want or perhaps they might want you to work in the office instead of in the field. And in all the years I have been in hh, I have yet to come across a situation where I've been told that a nurse was refused because they were male. Not that it doesn't happen, but that is a lot of cases in a lot of years for a tendency to be visible.

KateRN1

Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management. Has 20 years experience.

I have had cases where the patient refuses a nurse of either gender. Right now I have a male patient who only wants a male nurse. I've had LOLs who didn't want a male nurse until they met my fabulous LPN (male) who taught them more about their disease processes and how to manage than any other nurse they've ever met. I've also had LOLs who only wanted a male nurse so they had someone to flirt with. And old men who wanted a young pretty nurse for same reason. And some that only wanted white/black/American, you name it. All kinds of weird requests out there. Sounds to me like the recruiter can't get over the "male nurse" thing. Maybe he's gay and feeling you out to see if you are of like mind? Who knows.

Noimanurse

Specializes in Med./Surg. and paramed. exams.

I certainly understand people having certain ideas or modesty concerns as I work on a med/surg. floor and I am certainly respectful and understanding, but the situation is a rare one. I suppose that is why I was so put off by this representative just kind of "throwing it in my face", yet he continued to call and see if I was interested in a position with the company??? Since I am relatively new to nursing and this is really the first and only contact I've had with a home health company I was just wondering if this was the norm or if this guy, or the company he works for, just has no clue what he/they are doing. I didn't start with them since after a couple of weeks all he offered me was a full-time position which I had clearly stated I wasn't interested in. Its just been something that has been "simmering" with me for a couple of months. Thanks for your feedback.

I am not a nurse (yet!). I was a BSN student that left school to take care of my son. As a parent, I can tell you that I would gladly have a male nurse again. That being said, just a couple of months ago this was discussed amongst some other moms of vent-dependent kids and the single moms and the moms of older girls said that they felt bad discriminating but they refuse male nurses. We have had one male nurse that we absolutely loved and he left when he finished his RN to take a hospital job out of the area. I don't care if my son's nurses are male or female, straight or gay, anything about their race, nationality or religion. As long as they are competent, can read/write/speak in fluent proper English, respect my home and family and take the best care of my son, I am happy.

I have only been with one agency. I don't know what their policy is from the nursing side but along with a care plan, we provided them with a list of house rules, some info about our family and the things we were willing to provide for the nurses (tv with cable and dvd, wireless internet access, small desk, rocking chair, etc.). They also asked what we were looking for in a nurse (must be a non-smoker, no perfume, must love cats) and have not had a problem staffing our case.

I hope you find a nice agency and a good family to work with!

ventmommy With a rocking chair how could you lose? You certainly know how to please a nurse!

You certainly know how to please a nurse!

I really try. Sometimes I am appalled at how people treat their nurses. It is an interesting relationship that I don't think a lot of people really think about. The nurse works for the agency but can be fired from the case by the parent. The parent wants control because it is her/his child. The nurse wants control to "do it the right way" as they have been trained.

Personally, I want the nurses in my house to be happy so that they stay. I hate orienting new nurses, probably as much as some nurses hate being shuffled from case to case. I want nurses that like coming to work and like taking care of my son. Is it all sunshine and daisies and rainbows? Surely not. He requires a lot of nasal suctioning which grosses out more nurses than I would have thought. He desats frequently (sometimes 6 times/hour). And I am quite confident that there is no nurse (or parent) in the world that likes changing diapers. But I do try to make my house as comfortable as possible for the nurses so that they are not on this board complaining about me! (Yes, they all know that I am on here! I don't know there user names and they don't know mine although I don't think it would be hard for them to figure it out.)

I hope I can post here. I think I have real world to share. I've worked as a Home Health Aide for almost 2 years. I absolutely love it! I never thought I'd find a profession where I looked forward to working every day. I have my CNA and attend CC where I haven't yet decided for or against a medical career. My grades in pre-reqs are all A's if I'm ever ready.

Right now I am actively leaving the field because of the overwhelming number of clients with a strong preference for females. I am simply starving to death. No matter how many agencies I find who will hire me I'm rarely sent on cases. I feel like the token male: useful only for the rare occasion when someone asks for a male.

Without exception AFAIK, everyone I've ever worked for would welcome me back or actually requests I return. Cases turn over quickly or you'd think I would have built up quite a following. But I find often when a home care client has reached the stage where he or she prefers, requests, requires, or accepts a male, the client soon after passes, or condition soon worsens and is moved to a NH or SNF. The cases I'm sent on as a male simply don't last long.

One client told me last week that she had asked for a female aide and was furious after the first visit when I had shown up. I was covering a call out. After I left she called the agency to complain. Thankfully the agency asked what I had done wrong. She said she caught herself trying to come up with a reason and asked her Dad if he wanted me back. He said, "Hell yes! He's the only one ever washed my pecker right."

So I have marketable skills and have been returning to see them for a few months. But I think the opportunities for males in home care are just not there. One of my co-workers, a male LPN, agrees. He's the only male among 16 female nurses and can't get a full schedule. His co-workers make 60 visits a week. He cannot get full-time hours or benefits because they don't have the available work. For comparison, another Agency I work out of has 75 HHA's and just 5 of us are male. I'm the only one who has been trying to work full time. The others work in LTC.

My advice to a male would be to do home care part-time on mornings and not to rely on it as a career. Males, aides or nurses, by my observation are welcome in LTC and hospitals. Not ALF's and not home care.

systoly

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

I guess it depends on the area. I've worked home health exclusively for several years now, mostly 4 12s a week. I know of one instance where the family specifically requested a female. One of my current patient's primary caregiver told me the scheduler at the agency asked her if a male nurse was alright with her to which she reponded (according to her) "I don't care, I want you to send me someone who knows what they're doing and is reliable"

tothepointeLVN, LVN

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic. Has 3 years experience.

I've had patients in Hospice where a female caregiver has been requested for religious reasons not in private duty but then again I'm a female nurse so obviously I don't know.

Ventmommy if I worked for someone like you I might still be in private duty. On at least 2 cases I've been on the only place for me to sit was the floor. In one case they actually gave away the couch I used to sit on.

Noimanurse

Specializes in Med./Surg. and paramed. exams.

Thanks for the information. I've been trying to figure out whether it was just that agency that may have been stuck in 1960 or if it was a true concern of patients. My plan deals with maintaining my full-time hospital job, but trying to get some different experiences part-time. I hope things work out one way or another, for now, I have started with a Paramed exam company doing life insurance exams on the side, its not home health by any means, but it is in the clients' homes asking health questions, drawing blood, and getting urine. So far no one has complained and I and the clients have all enjoyed speaking.

I work with two male RNs, doing intermittent HH. To my knowledge, no one has ever complained about having them, and one of them has lol pts that freak out if he has to be replaced for a visit or two. I think you may have hit the nail on the head, the agency you spoke to is stuck in 1960.

KateRN1

Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management. Has 20 years experience.

Just when I thought I'd seen it all, I had a referral come across my desk a while back where the pt's family member requested "no male, black, or foreign caregivers." She wanted white females only. Since then, I've had two more with the same request. I have decided to start calling our team "Crackers R Us." I just can't get over the prejudice of people, it amazes me. I'd much rather have the smart, black, male nurse than the slovenly white old bag, ya know? What on earth does race have to do with anything?

systoly

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

The way I look at it is patients have the right to refuse medications, treatment and good care.

suanna

Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

Please understand- I am making no accusation about you or any man in nursing- I am one. I could bet if this is primarily a pediatric agency, people are concerned about innapropriate contact from men with an un-natural attraction to children. In an acute care facillity I'm sure the concern is also there- but it is a less intimate enviornment than working one-on-one with a child in thier home. I have a granddaughter with special needs. In the future she may require intermittant home medical assistance. I would probably be fine with a man providing the care, but it would cross my mind, and I would want to make sure someone is always present when the care is performed until I feel confident of the care giver. Even with that, lots of alter boys have had the greatest trust in thier priest and ended up surprised. Think of how much easier this could occur in a relationship that requires disrobing, or peri care.

systoly

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

Just when I thought I'd seen it all, I had a referral come across my desk a while back where the pt's family member requested "no male, black, or foreign caregivers." She wanted white females only. Since then, I've had two more with the same request. I have decided to start calling our team "Crackers R Us." I just can't get over the prejudice of people, it amazes me. I'd much rather have the smart, black, male nurse than the slovenly white old bag, ya know? What on earth does race have to do with anything?

I fit into two of these categories. The way I look at it is patients have the right to refuse medications, treatment and good care.

I have worked with lots of male nurses and male CNAs in LTC facilities and quite often the male must have a female escort, not always an easy request to comply with. There is no way the agency can send a female nurse to chaperone the male nurse or HHA. If the agency tells the family they can't refuse male employees, they run the risk of losing the case to another agency that promises the family what they want.

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 45 years experience.

We don't ask for their preference. Normally if someone feels that way, they will say so in the first conversation before the nurse even meets the family.

I have no idea why they would continue to call you to tell you nobody wants a male nurse. :confused: I've known many male nurses who are great with kids! I think if they actually met and/or talked with the families most of their fears would be gone. In one home I recall one female patient begrudgingly accepted a male nurse due to the alternative being no nurse and they hit it off very well.

I think you should ask to be interviewed. If the staffer/recruiter person meets you face to face and you make a positive impression, they will be more likely to go to bat for you with the families/adult patients. You might have a better chance of getting orientations that way and again, the real person isn't nearly as objectionable as their pre-conceived notions. Best wishes to you!