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, beachynurse said:

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. 

Yep. That’s what I said. “Sexist and discriminatory?” Fine. It doesn’t change how I feel about it  

I also said I’d only accept a male OB that I already knew, felt safe with, had a relationship with. (Assuming I was given a choice and didn’t live in the middle of nowhere.  Which is why I don’t)  

I don’t understand the outrage, and I suspect if you are outraged by this you have not had a baby, or have never seen what a labouring mom goes through, or you are not a woman, or you have been lucky enough to never felt unsafe at the hands of a man.  Consider yourself lucky.  

Again, what is being done is highly intimate when you are feeling your most vulnerable. I want women, myself included, to feel empowered and emotionally safe. That doesn’t happen when you walk in, scared and in pain, and have to get a vag exam by a total stranger, no matter how “professional” he is. 

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 11,128 Posts

2 minutes ago, kdkout said:

I don’t understand the outrage, and I suspect if you are outraged by this you have not had a baby, or have never seen what a labouring mom goes through, or you are not a woman, or you have been lucky enough to never felt unsafe at the hands of a man.  Consider yourself lucky.  

I am a survivor of years of childhood abuse. I have felt unsafe at the hands of a man too many times to count. I find the "okay with a male OB but not a male RN" to be a double standard. Can I understand why a woman would turn down male care providers? Absolutely. Do I think that should be extended to hiring practices and assumptions about others' preferences? Absolutely not.

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I also said I’d only accept a male OB that I already knew, felt safe with, had a relationship with. (Assuming I was given a choice and didn’t live in the middle of nowhere.  Which is why I don’t)  

Don't assume not living in the middle of nowhere means you get a choice. I live in a metro area about an hour drive from 2 very large metro areas. You get whoever is on call, whether you've been seen by them or not, whether male or female.

kdkout

kdkout, BSN, RN

Has 27 years experience. 155 Posts

Again,  I was OK with two male OBs when I had my kids, *because* I had worked with them and personally knew them, therefore I felt safe with them. I would not feel safe with just any male OB. 
 

I’m not a hiring manager, don’t want to be one, and it’s a good thing I’m not, clearly.  

If anybody else wants to tell me I’m being sexist and discriminatory then, Fine.  Legally, that is true. It still doesn’t change how I feel about it. 

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,570 Posts

17 hours ago, beachynurse said:

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. 

In some cases, a woman doesn't have an option to have a female OB deliver her baby.

Anyway, I am on the fence about this issue. While I don't have a problem with male nurses seeking employment in LD, I think that given how common it is for women and their spouses to request a female nurse only, it may not be the most ideal place for a male nurse. I personally worked in HROB/LD and we had exactly one male nurse in a sea of hundreds of nurses. We also have a very high religious population who would not want this male nurse to care for them even though he had years of experience. 

I think it would take a certain kind of male nurse to work in LD. One who doesn't try to mansplain to his patient, one that doesn't give off vibes that make women uncomfortable,  and one who is in the antithesis of the toxic male culture that runs rampant in American society. Usually,  from my personal observation,  the men who typically meet those standards are gay.

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,947 Posts

On 6/29/2022 at 3:30 PM, 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/

 The hospital who is respecting the emotional needs of the birthing patient is going to get sued for simply reassigning a male nurse?  The request of the patient is the only reason they need to show.  Is themale nurse then going to legally harass that woman (because sumthin sumthin his rights) or just contend that he's an injured party because his wants weren't elevated over the woman's?  This diminishing of women's rights and autonomy and value in our attitudes and actions is getting tedious. Yeah we are aware that our laws and their interpretation is a portion of that tedium.  IMV

Maybe you haven't noticed that as women are allowed into medical schools there are more and more women practicing OB/GYN. Perhaps you've missed that many women choose female midwives when they have limited choices among male OB/GYN monopolies in the field. Women having male doctors in [insert specialty] because there aren't other good alternatives is historical reality in this country. 

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

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

These questions are honest questions. They are not intended to be argumentative. I am obviously male and have no experience as a female patient. 

Has anyone had the experience that a male patient requested a male nurse instead of a female nurse or have men just resigned to the fact that 90% of nurses are female and odds of getting male nurse is slim?

If in some alternate universe that 90% of OB nurses were male, would women accept male OB nurses since that is the norm and is to be expected?

What is the issue with a male OB nurse, excluding history of sexual/domestic abuse?

Rate your pain

Rate your pain

5 Posts

I worked on in LDRP where we had one male L and D nurse and two postpartum male nurses. One night I ended up with all the patients because not one woman wanted a male nurse.
 

That said, it really depends on your clientele. I personally think it’s not a great idea. If I was a male provider, I surely would have a female in the room any time I got near any private area. Nurses don’t have that option. So even if you have women who would not be terribly uncomfortable with a male nurse, I would also be thinking about protecting yourself in such a litigious and super sensitive environment. Plus, I have kids. I would never have felt comfortable with a male nurse and I had male OBs. It’s just different. 
 

I once went into a patient room with my male nurse preceptor. I was explaining something about breastfeeding and he said “I never knew that!” I know that not all OB nurses have kids, but having life experience sure helps.

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,570 Posts

3 hours ago, NICU Guy said:

These questions are honest questions. They are not intended to be argumentative. I am obviously male and have no experience as a female patient. 

Has anyone had the experience that a male patient requested a male nurse instead of a female nurse or have men just resigned to the fact that 90% of nurses are female and odds of getting male nurse is slim?

If in some alternate universe that 90% of OB nurses were male, would women accept male OB nurses since that is the norm and is to be expected?

What is the issue with a male OB nurse, excluding history of sexual/domestic abuse?

Good questions.

Honestly,  in my many years of experience, I have seen male patients refuse male nurses and demand female nurses even in very intimate settings. Many say they don't want male nurses because *insert homophobic remark* or because they are sexual perverts who only want females to take care of them so they can continue to be sexually perverted. 

For me, personally, when I found I was pregnant,  I wanted a female OB with years of experience who has had children of her own. It was important for me to have someone who has gone through pregnancy and maybe even empathize with a pregnant patient's woes and worries.

When it comes to Labor and Delivery, I just don't think I will feel comfortable with a male OB nurse. The only man I want seeing or touching my vagina is my significant other, and I feel that should be respected. It has nothing to do with a history of sexual abuse...it is just my comfort level. And if I can find a female OB nurse (which shouldn't be hard in a field that is 99 percent female), a reassignment should just happen. And while I can't speak to every female, I know plenty who feel this way for a multitude of reasons (sexual abuse hx, religion and the need for modesty, comfort level, etc).

But to be fair, I haven't given birth yet so my opinion may change once the labor pains come forth.

kdkout

kdkout, BSN, RN

Has 27 years experience. 155 Posts

“What is the issue with a male OB nurse, excluding history of sexual/domestic abuse?”
 

Just want to go on record to say many women, myself included, do not even have to be a victim of sexual or domestic abuse to not want a male nurse. Am I am domestic abuse survivor? Yes. However, I really do think I’d feel the same way even if I hadn’t been. 
 

Unless you have had a baby, I really don’t think you can understand this. ESPECIALLY with what is currently going on in our country.

Men don’t breastfeed. They don’t go through labor. They don’t have everything change within their bodies for 9+ months.  
As people who’ve worked labor before have said, most women will refuse a male nurse and the reasons seem quite obvious to me  

My husband is one of the sweetest kindest people I know, but even if he showed up as my nurse (he’s not one), I’d still ask for a woman 

 

Edited by kdkout

JKL33

6,319 Posts

10 hours ago, ThePrincessBride said:

I think it would take a certain kind of male nurse to work in LD. One who doesn't try to mansplain to his patient, one that doesn't give off vibes that make women uncomfortable,  and one who is in the antithesis of the toxic male culture that runs rampant in American society. Usually,  from my personal observation,  the men who typically meet those standards are gay.

Just musing here--no one wants someone who is truly the kind of person you describe, the problem is it's all so subjective. I mean, I explain things all day long, sometimes in very simple terms PRN, but that will never be "mansplaining" because I'm not a man. You know?

And isn't the guy working as a nurse already somewhat likely to not be what you describe? After all, they've chosen to work in a profession where they still might be mocked for doing so on any given day. I say that almost by definition they've already made at least one choice that would suggest they aren't who you're talking about.

 

RatherBHiking, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, OB, School Nurse. Has 30 years experience. 1 Article; 551 Posts

I think there are some males that could make a good L&D nurse but the problem is, if you have a lot of women who refuse a male because it’s uncomfortable for them, that just puts more work on the rest of the staff leading to resentment. 

Also, it IS nice to be taken care of by someone who has gone through labor before because they get the things you’re going through. I’ve had many male doctors brush off my complaints of severe cramps and bleeding, ask me if I wasn’t sure it was just my period when complaining of UTI symptoms, or roll their eyes when complaining of some symptom I was concerned about. I’ve endured sexual abuse as a child. I’ve endured men being friendly to me until I turn down their requests to go out and they get downright mean and hateful. So no I don’t fully trust any man until I’ve gotten to know them well. It’s hard to establish trust with a male that quickly for a lot of women. Unfortunately most women have had to deal with being sexualized by men to the point it’s always in the back of their mind “what are they really thinking”. The reason it’s different with a male OB Dr is they have time to establish that relationship of trust and if you don’t feel comfortable you can change doctors. 
 

All that being said, if a male nurse came in with confidence, cheerfulness, put me at ease and seemed nurturing I would probably be OK with it. If you are a friendly nurturing person (because women need extra nurturing and support when they are going through one of the scariest times of their lives) then put yourself out there and try! Just know it won’t necessarily be an easy road. 

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 10,085 Posts

I saw my first baby born in March 1983 as an LPN student and I still remember his name. I figured if I ever met him again, I would violate HIPAA, which didn't exist in those days, and say, "I saw you born!"

Working as a scrub in the OR in '86 & '87, I assisted in LOTS of C-sections.  I even got to clamp the cords of newborn twins. In the late 80's, I was friends with the OB docs & nurses and they let me stand in sometimes with the natural childbirths if the mother consented.

Every single birth was an exhilarating experience that I never ever tired of. However, I never wanted children and can trace my feelings back to my childhood, which was a very good one. I had a vasectomy before I got married the first time and have not regretted my decision one bit.

With that said, the FCC advocates for equal airtime, and although I truly enjoyed every birthing process in which I was involved, I personally and professionally never wanted to work in L&D.