Being a male nurse is completely different than being a female one. Here are my best tips and advice that I have for all male nursing students.
Recently, a male nursing student, via Tumblr, asked if I had any advice for him as he begins clinicals this winter in a predominantly female field. If you are a male nursing student, these tips are for you!
Advice for Male Nursing Students
I am not a male nurse. Therefore, I asked some male nurses if they had any insight on this. Below are some points of enlightenment from one of my Twitter buddies, Ryan Mitchell (@rymitch18). I added my own points of enlightenment after his (which is basically just me agreeing with him).
Don’t Sleep With Classmates or Coworkers
The first piece of advice they gave was to avoid mixing business with pleasure.
“Do not sleep with classmates or coworkers… if things don’t work out (they almost certainly won’t).. everything gets awkward. I didn’t, but classmates did. I’ll admit it was fun to watch their misery.”
UM. YES. Agreed. I’ve seen it, not done it, but I imagine it’s super awkward and unnecessarily stressful. Plus you don’t want to worry about dealing with that crap when you’re trying not to lose your mind studying.
Also, you end up being in the same classes with these people for years, so if you start a relationship in your first few months and it doesn’t work out, you’re stuck with them for another 3.5 years.
Next, you definitely want to be trustworthy and maintain your integrity.
“Be ‘that guy’ that everyone can depend on. Keep your gossip in check; there’s plenty going around on a typical unit. Be the trusted listener.”
There is so, so much unnecessary gossip that flies around the nurse’s station. Don’t get involved. Don’t engage people when they start talking negatively about coworkers. That’s why I love working with guys, they don’t talk or want to talk about who is sleeping with who, who is lazy, how broke people are.. we just quote the Office back and forth for 12 hours, which is much more entertaining.
Being a trusted listener is the BEST place to be.
Read and Learn Often
Don’t ever stop learning. Live life as an eternal student.
“Read, read, read. Twitter is a fantastic learning hub [cough @rymitch18 and @NurseEyeRoll cough cough]. Eventually, people will notice that you are generally prepared for anything you face.” The more you read/know, the less you freak you, the easier your shift is.. YAY!
Don’t let the anxiety of being a male nurse get to you.
“Sexism only exists if you let it. Patients who initially feel hesitant with a male RN will relax when you demonstrate confident professionalism!” Uh-gree. If you treat all patients with confidence, they’re put at ease because they feel like you really know what you’re doing. And they don’t care when you help them do gross/embarrassing stuff because you’re being professional.
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Be confident. Ryan is right, sexism only exists if you let it.
Avoid Using Pet Names With Patients
Be professional and always avoid calling patients cute pet names. This will prevent you from experiencing awkward interactions or unnecessary offense.
“Never, ever call a patient honey, dear, sweetie, love. It’s unprofessional and straight up weird when a guy says it! Refer to the patient by their name.”
This is just a good rule all-around. I’ve met people that despise being called those names and I hate it too. It’s unprofessional, so if I was in their position, I wouldn’t trust you as much because you’re treating me like a child. On that note, don’t ask any adults if they need to “potty”. If anyone asked me or my family that, I would flip. I am not a child, do not speak to me like that.
Introduce Yourself With A Handshake
“I always introduce myself to patients with a handshake. Works for guys like me who may not always feel comfortable with the touchy side of nursing. That being said, you’ll laern when a reassuring pat on the shoulder, or pull up a chair, sit down and hold a hand is needed. Don’t be distant!” I actually introduce myself with a handshake, and it sets a really good tone for your shift. Patients and families LOVE it.
I can just see it in their face. It sets a professional vibe immediately and it really reassures people by establishing a connection. And yes, it’s perfect for guys who aren’t comfortable with the emotional side fo nursing because you really do establish an emotional/trusting relationship when you do that.
Male Nursing Students Advice Can Work For Female Students Too
This advice is pure gold and could work for female students too.
Most people are completely used to male nurses and nursing students and don’t even think about it. I mean, yes you will get those older patients that call you “Doc” no matter how many times you remind them that you’re their nurse (go ahead, pretend you don’t kind of love it), or the occasional douche that asks why you didn’t go to medical school.. but they do that to women too. It’s equally as annoying.
I personally love working with guys, we just quote TV shows back and forth and get in a funny-meme/E-card contest on our iPhones.
Also, there are some patients that will only listen to men. I’ve had some Amish and muslim patients that refuse to listen to anything I say.. I go grab my male nurse coworker and have them say the same thing and they finally listen. Some people are just like that, I’m not here to change their beliefs/religion/outlook.. just here to take care of them. So, thanks guys!
Here is a little more advice from of my other Twitter buds!
Male Nursing Students Resources
Here are some more nursing school resources for ya! These work for either male or female students, everyone will appreciate them.
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