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The Time of My Life

Men   (474 Views 5 Comments)
by malenurseNTX2019 malenurseNTX2019 (New Member) New Member

131 Visitors; 6 Posts

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I say that title in humor of course.  Nursing school was anything but the time of my life.  First I am a male nurse (LVN), in school to become RN.  Secondly, I am a senior (>55), in comes age discrimination.  After countless incidents of harassment, discrimination, humiliation, and ridicule, I finally present the problem to the program director.  Darn the luck, she don't like me either.  In the aftermath, I have actually had many a bad dream of being back in those hostile clinical settings, and the trauma comes back stat, until I wake up and realize it may never be truly over!

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

941 Likes; 11 Followers; 64 Articles; 168,842 Visitors; 13,727 Posts

Age discrimination in nursing is rarely related to your actual AGE, but to your position on the wage/benefit scale.  If you're a new RN, you'll be at or near the bottom of the scale, regardless of your age and perhaps even regardless of your years of experience as an LPN.  

I've read numerous articles that indicate males in nursing are treated more favorably in nursing than women, despite the fact that nursing is a female-dominated profession.  I'm wondering if you really are being discriminated against because of your gender.  Perhaps the program director will have some feedback for you in terms of how you can continue the program with fewer negative experiences.

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172 Likes; 1 Follower; 494 Visitors; 79 Posts

Recognizing that nursing school is hard is a good start.  Recognizing you may be a minority and how to overcome that to succeed in your educational program favorably can be really difficult. It sounds like you are well on your way through this but focusing and succeeding may be a challenge.

I was an adult learner (well into my..ahem 40's) when I went back to school and started my BSN.  There were over 100 students in my class and 6 of us were male.  Needless to say I rarely saw another male in my classes until my senior year.  Every clinic and most classes, I was the ONLY male student.  All my nursing instructors and program directors were female.  They were mature with a lot of experience which I found very valuable and enhanced my learning dramatically.  Even the material we used whether it was professor created or textbooks, always had the nurse and patient as a female (except for regarding male anatomy/care, of course) and the doctor as a male.  Nearly everything was written and presented from those perspectives. 

In my first clinical my instructor would say, "Okay, ladies follow me and lets go upstairs." and she would refer to men in a derogatory context every single time.  I'd let it go once then noticed it being said all the time.  One time I mentioned that the class wasn't just female and the instructor would say, "Okay ladies follow me and you too." Pointing at me.  Everyone laughed and they went upstairs.  I followed and remained silent.  The very next clinical she said the same thing, "...ladies follow me." and they all left. I remained down in the lobby.  A short while later, the instructor came back looking for me.  I explained briefly and calmly how I felt uncomfortable how she consistently addressed males in a negative way and didn't even refer to me appropriately in front of the entire class (she was also an instructor in several classes).  We had a nice calm discussion.  She never repeated those phrasings again. 

As I got further into my program, I ended up presenting research regarding gender bias in healthcare, etc.  A few of my instructors came up to me and thanked me for the presentation afterward.  One of them was this instructor who I had had a calm chat with prior.  I never once heard another gender biased slant in conversation or anything throughout my remaining educational experience.  My senior year one of my instructors was this same woman.  I cringed thinking I finally  made it and now I'm stuck with this one again.  Turns out she was so thrilled to have me and she was so supportive of me that I even wrote a letter to the dean on how much this instructor made me grow throughout the program.  

The value I learned is to try and not take it personal.  I know that may be difficult.  My experience is not anyone else's just as your experience may be hard for the rest of us to understand.  It wasn't all rainbows and butterflies in nursing school for me. I tried to turn it around in a calm and educational manner by speaking directly to those who may not realize they're even doing it and to also use educational research to help back up how I feel.  

In the end, my experience was great though it was a rough road for at least 2.5yrs of it due to many of things you've initially mentioned in your original post.  Again, not everyone has the same experience and not everyone will know what you're going through.  I want to encourage you to do the right thing, stand up for who you are, and keep learning.  Confront things that you want to change for the better but don't give up.  

Now, even to this day, I experience challenges in regards to those of which you've mentioned.  We all do and will continue to.  That's why it's always important to keep learning, teaching, and educating those around you.  You are a walking example of what you want to see in this world.  Be good to you and share that with others.  

Best of luck and when you graduate you can become an even better person for it!

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a NICU RN.

222 Likes; 1 Follower; 30,799 Visitors; 3,237 Posts

My experience was all rainbows and butterflies. There were 9 males and 20 females in my ABSN cohort. None of us (males) had any issues from female nursing students or instructors. Everybody was treated equally (Except Maternity clinical). We never heard any comments from the female instructors towards the male nursing students.

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Seeing Myself Out has 6 years experience.

29 Likes; 1,100 Visitors; 52 Posts

Dont give up. In my nursing program most of the predecessors who failed the NCLEX on their first go happened to be male, and one of the instructors that I respect as a person and eventually a friend kept on saying "It's always the men that have problem passing the NCLEX". After graduation I was the first one to take the NCLEX and passed it. Sometimes people say stuff that are biased based on anecdotal information and we can't take it personally. 

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