Should Male Nurse Work In L&D?

Updated | Posted
by Apotheosis Apotheosis (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Psych.

male-nurse-labor-delivery-job.jpg.3bfa2fad93d0616927daed9641d92c06.jpg

I've been a nurse about a year and work on a psychiatric unit. I thought this specialty was for me but now I don't think so. In school I really enjoyed L&D and women's health, I even did my preceptorship in school in L&D. I feel I would enjoy working in one of those areas but as a male I would feel out of place. Should I switch units ? Would patients be uncomfortable with a male nurse in these settings?

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,573 Posts

While any trained and qualified nurse can do L&D the common thread is that many women (Not all) can be uncomfortable with a male performing the more intimate aspects of this specialty. Still there may be a place in ante-partum, NICU or mother baby that you would enjoy. 

I was an LDRP nurse prior to going into Psych over 20 years ago and never looking back. Can I ask what specific aspect of psych makes it "Not for you."

Hppy

karmax1

karmax1

57 Posts

Some patients and their husbands will definitely ask for female nurses in L&D Units. Therefore, you will need to prepare for rejection. 

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

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

Come to the land of the little people. NICU is very male friendly. 

kdkout

kdkout, BSN, RN

Has 27 years experience. 155 Posts

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. 

Edited by kdkout

EdieBrous

EdieBrous, BSN, MSN

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

Don't a lot of these patients have male OB/GYNs?

kdkout

kdkout, BSN, RN

Has 27 years experience. 155 Posts

1 hour ago, EdieBrous said:

Don't a lot of these patients have male OB/GYNs?

Have you had a baby?  That informs this dialog.

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.

It's not the same thing as showing up in labor, in pain, scared - and then a male nurse is what you are given - a guy who is going to be doing your vag exams, seeing you naked, helping you figure out how to push effectively. Plus, If you unexpectedly end up in the hospital with a traumatic situation - ie preterm labor - you want to feel as emotionally safe as possible.  I now work in the NICU where a lot of moms have birth trauma.

I'm not saying a male nurse isn't capable of the job - he is - I am saying I think it's completely fair and advisable to make mom feel emotionally safe at perhaps the most vulnerable time in her life

EdieBrous

EdieBrous, BSN, MSN

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

"Have you had a baby?  That informs this dialog."

Not sure what that is supposed to mean, except that it sounds like a snotty response rather than a constructive one.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis

Specializes in Psych. 2 Posts

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

RockSolid

RockSolid

21 Posts

I'm a male nurse, and for a number of years I worked on a Med Surg floor that was also connected to the L&D unit, so there were times I covered that side. In my experience, at least half of the women I attended were not fully comfortable having a male nurse caring for them in that situation - something I completely understood and respected - and I usually was able to bring in another (female) nurse or aide to work with them in the immediate situation. The fact that you asked the question means you already have some sensitivity and understanding about this. I agree with the other posters in recommending that you not specialize in L&D, and that if you want to work with parents and babies then the NICU might be a better fit. It also may take a bit of time for you to find the specialty area you like the best, so be patient and flexible. In any case, I wish you luck and a rewarding career.

kdkout

kdkout, BSN, RN

Has 27 years experience. 155 Posts

4 hours ago, EdieBrous said:

"Have you had a baby?  That informs this dialog."

Not sure what that is supposed to mean, except that it sounds like a snotty response rather than a constructive one.

It means "Do you know what is involved? - the vag checks to see how effaced or dilated you are, placing foleys, the being naked and vulnerable, the looking at someone's private parts while they may be in stirrups helping them to figure out how to effectively push."  

You are listed as a nurse attorney.  I was not being snotty; I was painting a visual of what moms go through in labor for those who have not had kids yet and/or who have not done labor and delivery.  

That is all. 

Edie Brous

3 Posts

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/