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The life and times of a male RN (part II)

Updated on November 19, 2015

Life as a Male Nurse II

First, did you know you can buy Male nurse action figures, my brother in law gave me one for a previous birthday. Second, an important aspect of nursing is communication. Teaching is the basis of nursing theories and it involves communication. Seems these days a nurse’s main job is teaching. Still, there are those who seem to be un-teachable, and no I’m not talking about doctors. I had a patient who shot himself in the foot, on a dare. The shot went through the middle of the foot. He said to me that maybe he should have went closer to the edge of his foot, but I said he should have missed it altogether. How do you teach a patient like this? Do you say, “Sir, shooting yourself in the foot is unhealthy, and causes blood loss….you need blood to live.” How do you document this teaching? Nurse told patient not to shoot self in foot or any part of his body. I guess we can say that we taught about the disease process (more of that medical lingo I’m writing in here). My concern is that they come with shooting themselves in the foot on a dare, when do they start shooting other vital parts on a dare? Is fitting in or perceived fame more important than life now? Is our society that void of hope?

Next, how do we communicate with fellow staff? Every day I work I am in the gender minority. This column is not about men and women are from different planets and I know the secret to understanding them. Still, you have to know enough to get through the day. I had one of my fellow nursing students tell me during clinicals that he would have a rough time adjusting to working in a women’s world. No, ladies, I’m not giving you a name or time frame of the event. Still, how do you handle a stress filled occupation that its environment is geared towards the other gender? Some reports I have read say that male nurses get sexist comments throughout the shift, but I have not heard that or seen it personally. Here are some steps to get through the shift without getting overloaded or attacked. First, there are some conversations you just don’t get involved with the opposite gender, enough said. Second, you have to be helpful. I noticed that if you are helpful, they tend to gossip about you less and help you as well. No, I’m not saying female nurses aren’t helpful, but there are a FEW nurses, male or female, that just do not seem to be a team player. I worked with a male nurse who sat at the nurses’ station for the whole shift. The guy did Sudoku and read the paper. I do not remember him even seeing his patients. I even picked one of his patients off the floor one day. He is what I call “Not a team player”, or simply unsafe. Right now all the readers in the medical field have a name of a person in their head, but please, keep that to yourself. Third, you need to be easy going. What! A nurse that is a type B personality. Yes, I’m a type B personality. Wow, this is only the second article and it’s already getting personal. Lastly, get your work done. If you leave baggage for the next shift on a continual basis, word does get around (hey, it’s a hospital, a HUGE gossip center). One vital way in getting your work done means that you need to give a good report to the next shift. I had a patient with a halo on his head (not those of saints, but an to aid in the healing of a neck injury…more medical lingo). It needed to be adjusted. In my report, and this was true, I told the night nurse that he had a screw loose. I hope this section helps out all those in nursing school, especially those we call MALE nurses.

Lastly, a male nurse needs to talk with doctors. I guess I could have placed this section with teaching, but that might offend, so it has its own section. No, I don’t think nurses are greater than doctors and that the only reason the patient makes it out of the hospital is because of the nurse, I believe it’s a joint effort. I found out that doctors like to hear, what I call Buzz Words. Buzz words….things like potassium is 4.0 or sodium is 156. You get enough buzz words and numbers to them, they leave you alone, which means more time for real work. Also, just like animals, most doctors can sense fear. Show no fear and have the correct answers, and you’ll live another day in the life as a nurse. Also, do not stutter, that shows fear, and there’s no good way to say hi on the phone at 3am when a patient is not doing well. Another story I have is about a night nurse calling a doctor around 2am. An emphasis these days is to go over the patient’s home medications and see if the doctor wants to continue all of them or just some of the medications while in the hospital. This is a patient centered idea and safer for them. The nurse called the doctor about the patient’s home medication. Granted, this call can wait till the real morning, but the nurse might not like leaving baggage (I’m trying to help her out here). Since the doctor was awoken, he asked what medications did this patient take, and the nurse told the doctor the patient was not on any medications (I think this nurse just created baggage for herself with the doctor). Common sense is essential in nursing and in communication. You have a small synopsis of communication in the life of not just any nurse, a MALE nurse.

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