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UNDERWEAR (Yes, underwear)

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by nycnurse92 nycnurse92 (New Member) New Member

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New nurse here. Earned my BSN in January and have been working full time at a medical group office since April. It may be a silly question, however I'm compelled to ask it.

I'm also a trained EKG tech, although the group is on the verge of hiring a dedicated EKG Tech/Phlebotomist. Since four of our six exam rooms are equipped for EKG's, the patient will often remain in the exam room, if the doctor has directed an EKG, until the "tech" (me) arrives. I've noticed that many male patients (not all, but many) eschew the disposable powder blue paper exam gowns, and choose to remain in their underwear for full exams. As such, I will often enter the room to perform the EKG and find the male patient in his underwear. I always explain that they may put their trousers on since its only an EKG, and offer to wait outside until they're done, in the interest of patient modesty. Surprisingly, they often cite a desire to "get it over with" and since they're already in prone position, they choose to remain in their underwear.

One 33 year old male patient, two weeks ago, carried on a 10 minute conversation with me about his sister's desire to pursue a nursing career and the benefits of a bachelors over a two-year degree, while wearing only Hanes briefs and socks. He talked casually as if we were neighbors who just met in the frozen food isle at the local Piggly Wiggly. I just find the casual behavior of men in underpants, surrounded by a primarily female staff, to be a bit surprising.

I've been around naked male patients and their "embarrassment" or "awkwardness" is palpable -- and that's an understandable human reaction. However, underpants seem to be another issue, all together. I find myself surprisingly slightly embarrassed by the "casualness" of their behavior, but i'll get used to it.

Again, at the end of the day, it's all a non-issue, but i must pose the question: Are my perceptions accurate or do male patients simply not care about modesty unless it involves nudity?

Sorry this post is so long.

Thanks,

Lisa

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4 Followers; 11,294 Posts; 76,538 Profile Views

My husband walks around the house in his underwear. :facepalm: I wish he wouldn't.

But, in the hospital, I would have no problem with them just being in their underwear. It is certainly easier to get to their chest for an EKG. ;)

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macawake has 10 years experience.

1,101 Posts; 72,296 Profile Views

I think there’s a huge difference from a patient's standpoint, between being naked and wearing underwear. A lot of patients male and female, feel vulnerable when they’re naked. Most people normally only undress completely together with someone they have an intimate relationship with.

Underwear on the other hand usually covers the same areas as swimwear does, and you wear that in public. Personally I don’t see how a person in underwear is uncomfortable to be around, or why the person wearing the underwear should feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t bother me. It’s one thing if a person acts inappropriately, that might cause discomfort or annoy me. On the other hand that would bother me regardless of if they were only wearing underwear, or were completely covered in a medieval suit of armour ;)

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TU RN has 5 years experience and specializes in ICU, PCU.

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There's nothing wrong with this situation. If he's not being sexually inappropriate and just having a casual conversation with you it's normal. I would count myself lucky that I don't have to wade through the emotionally awkward situation of an embarrassed patient. If he were to wear an exam gown, wouldn't you have to expose his chest to perform the EKG anyway? Not to say you are, but I would avoid the use of generalizations ("do male patients...") as some might construe it as offensive.

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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My son and husband find clothes a burden....boxer shorts and a T shirt are the casual wear at our house.

If you don't have brothers...this is really normal.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

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Never thought much about it one way or the other. I'm so used to seeing patients in all states of undress that it doesn't bother me. But then, I've got years of experience and that probably makes a difference.

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14 Posts; 1,132 Profile Views

You make a good point. No brothers, however I recall on more than a few occasions being at my girlfriends' homes and their brothers would lounge and watch TV on the couch in their boxers. I just assumed the lack of embarrassment (for lack of a better word) on their part was attributable to the fact that they knew me personally, so it wasn't a big deal. As for me, I was always a little embarrassed.

I guess my question for the more seasoned nurses is if they hold me opinion that most men (not all) don't seem to care about modesty unless it involves nudity. In any event, the subject has the makings of a Masters in Nursing dissertation. No? LOL.

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Never thought much about it one way or the other. I'm so used to seeing patients in all states of undress that it doesn't bother me. But then, I've got years of experience and that probably makes a difference.

I remember my mother (also RN) commenting that she'd seen more penises than a two dollar hooker, LOL....shocked me at first, but now that I live the life, well.....ain't nothin' going on there of much interest now! ;)

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meanmaryjean has 40 years experience as a DNP, RN and specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

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The issue at our hospital is VISITORS lounging around in their undies, if you can believe it!

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macawake has 10 years experience.

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.....while wearing only Hanes briefs and socks. He talked casually as if we were neighbors who just met in the frozen food isle at the local Piggly Wiggly.

On a slight tangent, maybe it’s just me, but I find the mentioning of briefs and the local Piggly Wiggly in the same paragraph hilarious :lol2: Somehow Albertsons or Shoprite would have been better ;)

Never mind me, I'm sleep-deprived, makes me silly :facepalm: :roflmao:

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