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What do the male nurses do to prevent sexual assault accusations?

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by SkySoldier SkySoldier (New) New

MN BigJ

Specializes in ER. Has 4 years experience.

Being in ER I have never had anything like this happen to me. Be respectful of the pt, tell them what you are going to do and what it involves. If you have to get a female nurse for caths or things of that nature do so.

I do have to say, I have had some pt's that tried to be a little to friendly with me, opening their shirts, dropping thier pants, what have you, for those situations I say, "disrobing at this time is not nescesary and for any more procedures with this person I have a female present.

november17, ASN, RN

Specializes in Ortho, Case Management, blabla. Has 9 years experience.

I did actually have this happen to me one time when I was a tech at a nursing home; There was a patient that gave a nurse my description and said I went into her room and kissed her. Oddly, I had been off all that week, so it certainly wasn't me. Not only that but I did not work and was very rarely even in the wing where the pt was. It was never a huge issue or anything, but you never really know what kind of stuff can fly out of the blue at you.

I just started working as an RN (yeay). Always trust your instinct. If it doesn't feel right, seem, right, look right, then it isn't right. There was one instance when I needed to place a straight catheter in a femal patient. Upon assessing the patient, I felt uncomfortable doing it. I went to the charge nurse and explained that, while I was certainly willing to do this, I was uncomfortable with this particular female patient and either needed a female witness or would trade a similar task with another nurse. Turns out, I was asked to do a straight cath for a male patient and a femal nurse did it for my female patient. WIN WIN.

If you are uncomfortable, you may also ask the patient directly if they are comfortable that a male nurse do it, or if they prefer a female do it. This way, it provides the patient with a level of control (which they already don't feel they have) and provides them with the dignity they deserve. Also, they appreciate that you are considering their feelings.

Don't forget, we are their for the patient. It is all about them. Anything we can do to give them a positive experience in a "not-so-positive" situation is a plus for you, the hospital, and to their overall recovery experience.

Good luck

diane227, LPN, RN

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

Do yourself a favor and have a witness. Period. Always ask the patient if it is okay if you perform this particular procedure. Then, have someone with you and that person should be a female. It does not necessarily need to be another nurse. The unit secretary or other females can stand at the bedside to witness. When I am dealing with a male patient and I have to place a foley I always ask them if it is okay for me to do this procedure of if they would rather have a female. Usually they don't care one way or the other. I think it is easier for females because nursing has always been a "female" profession so patients know that they will be touched and cared for by a female. But it is still harder for men.

Diane, You seem secure in yourself and with a patient making choices..thanks...

I am curous how you handle the situations when a male asks for a male provider but one is not available...

sag35654

Specializes in icu.

i have worked in small hospitals. as a rule of thumb, if the pt indicated she was uncomfortable i would get a famale rn to assist or do the particular item of care. right now i am in the middle of a nightmare. protect yourself and your license. offer to handle foley placement on male pt's of your female coworkers in exchange for their help with female pt's. the stress and mental anguish are terrible. as a nurse i am sure that u have seen enough anatomy that u coild care less about seeing anymore, but a jury feel the same way??? to use a crude anacromym, "cya".

the reality is you can't ALWAYS have an observer/witness. some employers and co-workers will frown on it as well, b/c other nurses and cna's aren't there to be your babysitter every time you have a female patient.

a lot of it depends on who the male nurse is and who the accuser is. i've seen females accuse males of things and frankly most are laughable. some of the guys are flamers, some female accusers are grotesque (a troll wouldn't touch them), etc.

with that said, if your employer/boss is unhappy with you, it gives them an easy out to get rid of you.

tip: NEVER, comment on how attractive any female patient is or give them extra attention/care. your co-workers will pick up on it and if an accusation happens, you've help dig your own grave, whether something happened or not.

Any advice?

I find that my attitude and demeanor help avoid any problems. Fully explain what you are doing when working with all patients and make sure any concerns they have are aired.

When I worked in the nursing home, quite a few people who had problems with my gender came around very quickly after they saw how I worked. (The quality of services of my coworkers probably had a lot to do with this). Women who at first didn't want me in their room were later willing to cut cards to get me as their CNA. Same goes for men.

I use the same approach in hospital clinicals and have had similar positive results.

Of course, some just preferred to not have men work with them. Their wishes were always granted.

Orca, ASN, RN

Specializes in Corrections, psychiatry, rehab, LTC. Has 26 years experience.

I have done some duty trading, and I also take a female staff person with me if I have to go into an area where I might have to examine a female.

djaychris

Specializes in lots.....

The answer to your question would be......don't sexually harrass/assault anybody.

Seriously though, almost every male nurse I know who's even been accused of sexual assault deserved it. I'm not saying that wrongful accusations don't occur, but I doubt it is the danger you are perceiving it to be. There are many males in the field these days. I make sure to treat my female coworks with respect....no winks...no addressing them as "honey" or "pumpkin" (yes I have heard my male colleagues do so), no back rubs, no comments about how great they look. Treat your female colleagues professionally, and they will likely do the same for you. As for the women who direct wrongful accusations at innocent males, there is a special place in hell for them. Being subject to a sexual harrassment accusation can be INCREDIBLY damaging for somebody regardless of their innocence. It is often associated with a stigma that does not easily go away.

**EDIT**I see you are referring to patient accusations and not coworkers (duh!). In that case, much of the advice on this thread is sound. I have always outright refused to take part in OB/GYN exams, and most hospitals will only allow a female to do so anyway. If I am caring for a psych patient who is making inappropriate and/or sexual comments, I will not even enter the room without another female present. If you are ever in doubt about how a patient is handling a situation, bring another nurse (female) with you. It is your right to refuse to put yourself in a potentially harmful situation.

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