Guest Post by Matthew Morris
The field of nursing offers some incredible benefits.
These include; job stability, decent salaries and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.
More and more men have decided to enter this field, and that’s a good thing.
But the truth is if you’re a male nurse, you’re going to stick out!
You’re going to face the same questions and the same issues again and again.
Here are some common experiences among nurses who happen to be male, including how they deal with them, and what they’ve learned.
You’re going to face some rejection
Believe it or not, but it is quite common for female patients to reject your care and ask for a female nurse.
Many female patients are uncomfortable discussing topics such as sexual function or toileting habits or getting catheterized by a male nurse.
It can be frustrating and even a little embarrassing when a patient requests for a different nurse.
There is a bit of a double standard here because male patients are not given the option to refuse nursing care from a female.
The rejection however, doesn’t seem so personal because in most cases, the female patient is asking for another nurse based specifically on the male nurse’s gender and not because of anything in particular that the male nurse has done.
Most administrators understand that some patients are going to immediately reject male nurses, and so they don’t see it as a mark against the male nurse’s performance.
You’re going to do more “heavy lifting” than your colleagues
If there is any physical labor that needs to be performed, most commonly moving a patient, you’re going to be doing it!
Some male nurses are bothered by this while others take it in stride.
One male nurse I spoke to said, “If there is any physical labor involved such as moving or lifting a patient, I am the go-to guy.
Being the person always called to help move someone gets tiring, and I end up doing more work for the same amount of money than the female nurses.
But I guess that’s the case for women in almost every other job in America and other countries.
They do the same work but get paid less.”
You’re going to have to tell everyone, “You’re not going to medical school!”
One of the most common questions a male nurse will get asked is; “When are you going to medical school?”
Many people, including doctors, your friends, and even patients, will assume that a man’s job in nursing isn’t a career, but instead a stepping stone to a career as a doctor.
For those males who have found their calling as a nurse, answering that question again and again, for many years, can be a drag!
The question is very telling, in that it insinuates that society expects more professionally of men, than it does of women.
The good news is -Being a male nurse may open your mind a little bit
A lot of people in American culture have to overcome unfair stereotypes, and if you’ve never had to operate with someone stereotyping you, it can be an eye-opening experience.
One male nurse said, “I’ve never really been a minority in a group before, and I have to be honest, I hated it. If I messed up, everybody thought that my mess up represented male nurses everywhere. I really started to look at how women in predominantly male fields must be treated, and I imagine the treatment they got was a lot worse that what happened to me because what happened to me wasn’t really that bad, and it bothered me a lot!”
Many male nurses, particularly white men, who have to deal with fewer stereotypes become more sympathetic, and will give support to those who have to deal with stereotypes every day.
Finally, here’s a joke you can use
The bottom line is, nursing is an important profession, and no matter what your gender, it can be a long and rewarding career.
But being a nurse who is male can pose some challenges.
The biggest challenge, however, is the day-to-day questioning of your choices.
That can get tiring.
So when a person asks, “Why did you decide to become a male nurse?” (And believe me; they are going to ask that)
You can reply:
“Because I kept getting turned down for the female nurse positions!”
About the writer
Matthew Morris is a hospital employee who also runs the CNA Career Agency website.
This site helps people explore careers as certified nurse assistants.
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