Confessions of a Male Nurse

We are male nurses. These are our confessions.

An old mentor of mine gave me some very valuable advice. Starting a new job is like a naval battle. You do not want to be the almighty battleship that steams ahead blindly firing broadsides at everything that floats, you will isolate yourself, be surrounded, and eventually sunk. Battleships make nice big targets. Instead you want to be a quiet submarine that lays low, watches the other ships, sizes them up, and then picks the battles against targets of opportunity that can be won with the minimum of risk.

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Doctors Speak With Male and Female Nurses Differently

As a male nurse, I will say that physicians do treat male nurses differently. Most are not sarcastic or show the God like complex to me. I have seen physicians treat female nurses with disdain as though they were his peons. Then this same physician would speak to me in a very courteous manner.

The fact is that male nurses are treated differently by both physicians and female nurses. We are working in a world predominately filled with females. But my main concern has been and will always be providing patient care.

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Someone’s Always Watching You Work

Early on at this place (early on is your first week to two weeks) I was doing meds while another nurse worked the floor. What I’m used to is the med nurse does the meds, the floor nurse works the floor. When I’m on the floor I don’t pay much attention to the med nurse, they don’t pay much attention to me. I think it works because we recognize each others’ autonomy. When I’m doing meds I don’t want anybody touching my stuff, passing anything, taking off orders, fetching PRNs… I’m on top of it (or I’m not, it happens).

My partner nurse was working the floor that particular shift, and approached me while I was using the hospital’s checklist to assess a patient’s mood. She motioned to pull me aside and said not to use the checklist in front of the patients. “It might make them more paranoid if they think we’re constantly watching them” among other things. I told her this wasn’t my first rodeo. I can assess a patient’s mood without making him more paranoid.

Show me where the paperwork is, if you know the extension for the pharmacy I could use that, but I don’t need you to explain how to assess a patient’s mood (this is a psych hospital). I guess that tweaked her nose pretty good, because tonight we were on the same unit again. She made a list of everything I did wrong that shift, saved it for the end of the night, and pulled me aside. 

There she went down the list and said that the following are all med errors. X, Y, Z, and A, B, C. One of the things on the list was genuine, and I acknowledge that. One was partially true, and the rest was a bunch of garbage. She was just making it clear to me that she runs things here and will be watching me. “You know you could lose your license over this. Most nurses would just write you up for this, but it’s a lot of paperwork and I have something to do tonight, or I would. I figured I would just talk to you this time.”

Great. Thanks.

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Fun Answers To Annoying Questions Male Nurses Get

Q. “Are you gay?”
A. “Are you interested?”

Q. “Why didn’t you go to med school?”
A. “I couldn’t find enough cans on the side of the road to pay the application fee.”

Q. “Why did you become a male nurse?”
A. “I couldn’t afford the sex change.”

Q. “Lot’s of (insert derogatory word here) here, so how many do you hook up with?”
A. “You just asked me if I was gay…” OR ”None, I want to live.”

Q. “What do your family/friends/SO think of you being a nurse?”
A. “What do yours think of you being a dumba**?”

Q. “How much do you make? Do you make more than the women?”
A. “Just enough to pay my student loans. And I hope not, I want to live.”

Q. “So how much drama do you have to put up with?”
A. “I stay away as much as I can. I want to live.”

Q. “Doesn’t it suck having to be a human forklift?”
A. “I save money from not needing a gym.” OR ”I get to make cool ‘beep’ sounds when I back up.”

Q. “I can’t stand blood/urine/puke/mucus how do you do it?”
A. “Are you kidding me, I love to fingerpaint!”

Q. “What about the smells?”
A. “Dude, you don’t use deodorant, did you really just ask me that?”

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Quitting Nursing

After 15 years I have decided to quit the profession of nursing. I have been a OR nurse for a big hospital and a smaller clinic. I thought about going back to school but the idea of continuing in nursing frankly makes me ill.

I have made some friends and it has been a steady paycheck but that is it. I just flamed out with no chance of a relight. I am no longer challenged; I enjoy mopping the floor more than anything else.

I have had my fill of jerk surgeons, smart mouth PA’s (wanna be doctors), arrogant CRNA’s, lazy ST’s and PCA’s. If I plug in one more bovie or connect one more suction I am going to spontaneously combust.

I tried agency but we all know what your assignment is going to be when you show up; worst hack with a ST that could barely fog a mirror. I also enjoy working with a bunch of women who all PMS around the same time every month. I love you but somedays it’s too much.

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Virtual Health Assistant kind of reminds me of the movie Her

Kind of creepy but maybe great for next generation of patients- can also help make home care a bit more consistent

Also love the fact that the points you earn through “healthy” behaviors can substitute your co-pay. 

What do you think?

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