Should Male Nurse Work In L&D?

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by Apotheosis Apotheosis (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Psych.

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kdkout

kdkout, BSN, RN

Has 27 years experience. 155 Posts

1 hour ago, Edie Brous said:

The question assumes I have no idea what happens in OB. I do understand what women go through in labor and I don't need you to paint a visual. I asked if the women saying they don't want male nurses have male OBs because what women go through in labor is not the only consideration.  I AM a nurse attorney and don't only think about the clinical issues here, but also the legal ones.  Men who are told their patients won't be comfortable so they can't work in certain areas can have a legitimate discrimination claim.  It would be easier to defend against that action if the patients also had female OBs.  While an all female nursing staff might be nice clinically, legally it can be problematic if being female is not considered a bona fide occupational qualification to be an OB nurse.  Male nurses with every qualification to work in OB but are not allowed to do so because of gender, are subject to gender stereotypes that male OBs are not.  It is a balancing act of patient satisfaction and a nurse's right to be free of workplace discrimination. The hospital would need to show a non-discriminatory reason for not letting him be assigned to OB.   It's not a new issue and is a good topic for discussion.  Here is a 2004 Law Review article on it if you are interested. https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/302/

Those are great points and I appreciate the legal issues you brought up. 
 

Think we can all agree -

It’s probably good that I am not in charge of hiring!

EdieBrous

EdieBrous, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Nurse Attorney. Has 46 years experience. 37 Posts

Not a job I would want either!

RockSolid

RockSolid

21 Posts

Interesting law article. But in my book, the patient comes first.

Maybe I'm being naive or too idealistic here, but part of my job as an RN is to help my patients be as comfortable as possible with all of what they are going through. They often feel scared, anxious, embarrassed, and overwhelmed - and I care for these needs (and the family's) just as I do their physical/medical needs. If my gender, or my age, or my race, or nationality, or literally anything about me makes them feel uncomfortable or stressed, then I will attempt to find another nurse who can care for this patient. (Obviously if the situation is acute or critical or the patient is in crisis, then attending to that takes precedence.)

These are rare situations but I've always been supported by my charge nurses. It is easy to understand how this might occur more often with male nurses in L&D. The OP seems to be sensitive to this issue - indeed, that's why he brought it up in the first place. He himself stated that he would feel "out of place". He further asked whether L&D patients would be "uncomfortable with a male nurse". The answer to his question is that a not insignificant percentage of such patients would feel uncomfortable and would probably prefer same-gender care-givers. This really isn't hard to understand. The question has nothing to do with discrimination, or whether the OP would be qualified or would be hired. This isn't about who gets hired or who is allowed to work on which units. No one is talking about prohibiting anyone from doing anything... This question is not about legal stuff...

Lunah, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 14 years experience. 33 Articles; 13,699 Posts

7 hours ago, Apotheosis said:

Wow actually sorry now I even asked, thanks for your input everyone 

Please don't feel bad for asking, it's a legitimate question. I was a SANE and worked with a male SANE nurse, and we never had a female victim turn down his care. He had a very maternal and loving way about him, I think it made people feel safe. 

JKL33

6,319 Posts

10 hours ago, kdkout said:

Yes, but the moms (typically) pick their OBs, and have established relationships with them over the course of many months....so there's a relationship there.  If they felt uncomfortable with that OB, they wouldnt pick them.

But in many regions they would have to go well out of their way to not only pick a female OB, but to find an OB practice with only female OBs, otherwise they would always have the chance that the less-familiar male OB would be OC to deliver them--just like they might be in labor when a male nurse is on duty.

 

12 hours ago, kdkout said:

I would not feel comfortable with a male nurse, and no way would I feel comfortable with a male nurse for my dtr.

Well the first part of your statement is okay--that's your choice/feeling. But the fact that you mention what would make you comfortable for your daughter just suggests that you don't like the thought of male L&D nurses. Otherwise it would make sense to just state your preference and not worry about what kind of care your daughter might be comfortable with.

I think this is sort of an odd phenomenon and I do think there is some doctor/nurse bias involved, still. I suspect (but do not know for a fact) that there are quite a number of people who would feel free to demand an "exchange" for a male nurse but it wouldn't be a deal breaker if they had to have a male physician.

As for me, I confess I feel most emotionally safe with 1) whoever is the most competent and skilled at their profession and 2) can at least act like they weren't raised by wolves for the short time they will need to interact with me.

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 7 years experience. 4,071 Posts

I am so thankful that I didn't choose adult nursing. Having to deal with the whole male nurse/ female patient issue would be tiresome. I am glad my patients and parents have no issues with me being male.

mtmkjr, BSN

371 Posts

Perhaps you could apply for some positions and discuss these things in an interview? I would think the manager of the unit would know the challenges of having male nurses on staff. 

I can imagine that there are a range of thoughts on this and that each l&d unit has an individual  culture. Some would be accepting of male nurses and many would not, but it is something to investigate further and not assume there's no place for you there. 

Edited by mtmkjr

gere7404

gere7404, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Room, CEN, TCRN. Has 5 years experience. 658 Posts

I had to do like two days in a L&D unit in nursing school, it felt like 1/2 and 1/2 families were either cool with me being there and helping or asked me to stand in the corner so I couldn't see their loved one's vagina. Honestly, it didn't bother me at all because I had no desire to work in L&D. I think our entire maternal/child, pediatrics, and NICU are 100% staffed with females at my hospital. 

 

kdkout

kdkout, BSN, RN

Has 27 years experience. 155 Posts

“But the fact that you mention what would make you comfortable for your daughter just suggests that you don't like the thought of male L&D nurses.

I admit I don’t like male L & D nurses. Not even trying to hide it.

When you come into the hospital in the middle of labor, you need to feel emotionally safe. I would not feel that way with a male nurse. It’s that simple. I’d want a woman.  

When I was looking for my own OB, I had several Drs in each group practice that were both male and female that I liked - and knew them personally from working together. If there had been one Dr I was uncomfortable  with, I would’ve picked a different practice.  
 

As you pointed out, I agree this was easy to do since I did not live in an isolated area.  If you live in the middle of nowhere, you may be used to not having choices.  That’s one reason why I like to live near or in a major city.  In my hometown it used to take until March to have a New Years baby.    No way would I ever live there.  
I want choices.
To each their own.   

FWIW, I have no desire to work in a urology office. There’s a million different areas in nursing. I prefer to work in those areas where patients are going to feel most comfortable with me. 

In a perfect world, if a male labor nurse made a patient uncomfortable, you could just ask a coworker to switch assignments. That is difficult to do in practice, however   

 

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,293 Posts

As a former L&D nurse and OB nurse manager, I would not hesitate to hire a male nurse if he had the passion and qualifications. 

Edie Brous

3 Posts

15 hours ago, RockSolid said:

Part of the original question was, "Would patients be uncomfortable with a male nurse in these settings?"

"The patient always comes first" and the "legal stuff" are not either/or. You ARE being naïve or idealistic if you think patients can demand care by age, race, nationality, etc. Of course we do what we can to make patients comfortable and to feel safe, but that doesn't extend to indulging prejudices in making staffing decisions. 

I am not failing to understand comfort with same gender care givers, just pointing out that men cannot be made to feel unwelcome in OB if they are nurses, but not if they are doctors.  

Sorry you find the "legal stuff" so disturbing.  This is an interesting topic with a lot of related issues & does not have to be narrowly focused.  We should be able to address whatever contributes to the conversation without antagonistic responses, however.   Am leaving this thread now so carry on.

 

Quote

Interesting law article. But in my book, the patient comes first.

Maybe I'm being naive or too idealistic here, but part of my job as an RN is to help my patients be as comfortable as possible with all of what they are going through. They often feel scared, anxious, embarrassed, and overwhelmed - and I care for these needs (and the family's) just as I do their physical/medical needs. If my gender, or my age, or my race, or nationality, or literally anything about me makes them feel uncomfortable or stressed, then I will attempt to find another nurse who can care for this patient. (Obviously if the situation is acute or critical or the patient is in crisis, then attending to that takes precedence.)

These are rare situations but I've always been supported by my charge nurses. It is easy to understand how this might occur more often with male nurses in L&D. The OP seems to be sensitive to this issue - indeed, that's why he brought it up in the first place. He himself stated that he would feel "out of place". He further asked whether L&D patients would be "uncomfortable with a male nurse". The answer to his question is that a not insignificant percentage of such patients would feel uncomfortable and would probably prefer same-gender care-givers. This really isn't hard to understand. The question has nothing to do with discrimination, or whether the OP would be qualified or would be hired. This isn't about who gets hired or who is allowed to work on which units. No one is talking about prohibiting anyone from doing anything... This question is not about legal stuff...

 

beachynurse, ASN, BSN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 37 years experience. 272 Posts

On 6/29/2022 at 9:36 AM, kdkout said:

I have done labor and delivery at three hospitals in the past. 

I would not feel comfortable with a male nurse, and no way would I feel comfortable with a male nurse for my dtr. No way, no how.

I had a male OB once, who I had worked with and knew well and grew to trust. Nurses change all the time. What you are doing is very intimate at a time when the patient feels very vulnerable, and some patients have also had sexual abuse trauma. (Which they are not always conscious of, but it becomes fairly certain during labor). 

Now, with the recent Roe v Wade decision, especially…. Please, I beg of you, find something else. 

There are times when you prefer the support of another woman, and this is one of them. 

I find this absolute rejection of male nurses in Ob to be a sexist and discriminatory one. You won’t accept a male nurse, but you will accept a male MD to deliver. Hmmmm.