Question about men in labor/delivery and nursery.

  1. Hello all,
    I am 43 y/o male and am currently a student in my third semester of my ASN program. We are in our OB/PEDS rotation which was something I was dreading but come to find out I love it. I really want to work in the nursery/NICU or labor/delivery when I graduate and pass NCLEX. My question is this: How many male nursery/NICU nurses are "out there"? And the same question applies to labor/delivery. I recently was involved in 2 vaginal deliveries and have been involved with a C section too. None of the patients had a problem with a male nurse but I'm curious to hear everyone else's experiences.

    Thank you!
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    About jhyde17

    Joined: Mar '10; Posts: 28; Likes: 3
    Full Time Student; from US


  3. by   brownbook
    For many years patients and their families expected their obstetrician or pediatrician (or neonatologist) to be male, while of course, nurses were female.

    Now we all accept women as doctors so society needs to get over any feelings that male nurses in L&D or NICU is something odd.

    I think, hope, the younger generation would think nothing of this.

    However just yesterday I had a 40ish year old female after a minor gynecological procedure who mentioned to her husband that the scrub tech was a male, (her surgeon was female). The patient seem to be a little embarrassed about it.

    It would be (or used to be) more unusual to have female scrub techs. That has been a predominately male occupation.
  4. by   jhyde17
    Thank you brownbook. I hope my competence as a nurse and level of professionalism and care is what my patients talk about, not my gender.
  5. by   Double-Helix
    I know several nurses who work in NICU who are male, and it's never been questioned. I don't find a male working in the NICU any different than a male working in peds, med-surg, or adult ICU.

    I've never met a male L&D nurse, though. I don't know if it's because it's a career path fewer males would choose, or another reason. In L&D, there is much more intimate contact with a woman's body. I could see how some women (especially the younger, teenage population that you might see in L&D) might be uncomfortable with a nurse who is a male. Of course, these patients could simply request a female nurse.

    If these are areas that you want to pursue, then go for it.
  6. by   mom_coach_nurse
    I've often wondered why someone wouldn't mind having a male ob-gyn, but might balk at a male nurse in the same field.Good Luck to you, I hope you get to do what you really love
  7. by   beachmom
    We have one male nurse who does postpartum, nsy and NICU, but not labor. We try not to put him with any woman with known sexual abuse, especially if she is fresh postpartum, just because we don't want her to feel uncomfortable. Some women choose female Ob-Gyn's for a reason.

    He is wonderful with the babies, and almost all moms are fine with him.
  8. by   Stephalump
    Quote from Lynne C
    I've often wondered why someone wouldn't mind having a male ob-gyn, but might balk at a male nurse in the same field.Good Luck to you, I hope you get to do what you really love
    Wow...good point!

    Op, I say go for it if it seems like a good fit for your interests! The only way to change any prejudices out there is to be the best darn male L&D nurse out there. If you're amazing, people will go home and talk to everyone they know about it and help change things
    I'm sure there will always be some women who are uncomfortable with it - plenty of women out there refuse to go see male ObGyns, as well. But I can't imagine it would be a vast majority.
  9. by   carrie_c
    I don't see a problem with a male working in NICU, but I'm just not sure about L and D. I'm not really sure why I feel this way. I know many women see male OB's, but I think the difference is, they have had 9 months or longer to develop a relationship with that male doctor. It wouldn't be the same for a male nurse. I guess some women don't see their doctors as strangers, but some might see a nurse who they just met as a stranger, and that may be why they would be uncomfortable. But there are a few female nurses at my work that I wouldn't be comfortable with either. So I guess it could go either way. No way to know until you try!
  10. by   Jolie
    Legally, a qualified candidate can not be denied employment based solely on gender.

    And in this day and age, I don't believe there are too many women who would refuse a nurse simply because of gender.

    But there are some practical considerations that an employer must make when assigning opposite-sex caregivers in L&D where the care given is especially intimate and the possibility of allegations of inappropriate condct are ever-present.

    While many women choose to have a male OB-GYN, few, if any of those male physicians are foolish enough to conduct an intimate exam of a female patient (either in the office or hospital setting) without a professional chaperone present. By professional chaperone, I mean a nurse or assistant, not a family member or friend of the patient who could possibly be complicit in abuse allegations.

    Even the pediatricians on the maternity units where I've worked won't go into a mom's room to examine the infant without a staff member accompanying them.

    So simply from a practical standpoint, it is my experience that most hospitals are more open to hiring male nurses into areas such as NICU, PICU, and peds, where 1:1 contact with opposite sex patients is less likely to occur.
  11. by   imintrouble
    Choose the path that makes you happiest. You would always wonder "what if" with any other decision.

    Just be aware it only takes one crazy person to wreck your entire life. I suspect a 43 yr old man already knows that. Male nurses are simply more vulnerable to accusations of inappropriate conduct, than those of us who are women.
  12. by   ladytraviler
    I have worked with 2 wonderful male L&D nurses. It was wonderful to watch these men with laboring moms and with the families. Most of our moms didn't care who took care of them just as long as some one did. Then these same moms would come back with next pregnancy and specifically ask for them. It is done and can be wonderful. I learned a lot from both of them. Not only skills but care too.
  13. by   tntrn
    Some of the nurses i work with are far more uncomfortable with the idea than the patients are. We have a male who floats to our unit, not for labor but for all the other female patients and he is awesome.
  14. by   MrWarmHearted
    This is coming from a male - a male RN is probably not a good fit for L&D for many reasons - primarily it makes many women (and their significant others) uncomfortable. perhaps try NICU or peds.