We’ve all seen the movie “Meet the Parents” where poor son-in-law to be Greg is teased for being a male nurse. And while it may be funny to hear a joke from Robert DiNiro and his trademark frown, in the real world, the stereotypes about male nurses are just uncalled for.
Many men shy away from the field of nursing because they fear discrimination or stereotyping against them. Just because nursing as a profession is geared more towards women doesn’t mean men should shy away.
5 Tips for the Male Nurse
According to the 2013 Census Bureau Reports, the number of registers male nurses has more than tripled from 2.7 to 9.6 percent since 1970. And with the average salary of a male nurse being over $60,000, what guy would to shy away? Proper medical staffing should include all qualified genders who are willing and able to do their job. Here are some tips to remember when facing struggles for being a male nurse in this industry.
1. Don’t Let Patients Get Inside Your Head
Each patient is different and is going to want something different. There will be many times when a woman may feel more comfortable with a female nurse and vice verse. Gender bias is usually all in the mind, so be confident in everything you do. Understanding and accommodating the comfort levels of a potentially anxious patient will only help you succeed.
2. Handling Myths
Hearing, “Are you the doctor?” from many of your patients will be common. Now, this can be due to gender bias, but the way you handle yourself with patients is key. Some choose to handle it with humor and other just politely correct the misunderstanding. If you’re proud to be a nurse tell them!
3. Do Not Fear the Maternity Ward
Seeing a live birth is an amazing (or gross) process to witness. As a nurse you’ll have the opportunity to observe everything in the OBGYN and Maternity wings; live births, cervical exams, and c-sections are only some aspects. As long as you are polite, understanding, and be the fantastic nurse you are, you’ll do great!
4. Don’t be Afraid to Show Off Your Skills
As a man, you may be asked to lift, move, or carry heavy objects or even patients. As a valuable member of the hospital team you work with, play your part! If you are exceptionally good at a specific procedure, let your patients know. It will boost their confidence in you as their caretaker and push you to work harder.
5. Never Forget…
You are a nurse, not a male nurse. Women aren’t called female nurses; they’re just nurses. And so are you. You’ve taken the time, spent the money, stayed up long hours studying, and completed the experience needed to be a nurse. Don’t let anyone put a box around you because of your gender.