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

Updated on November 19, 2015

I’m thinking of writing a somewhat annual column for a blog about being a male nurse and about our healthcare system today (in the U.S.). It will be more or less freelance writing. Since starting and finishing my Master’s program in nursing, I’m getting more of an understanding of writing essays and written assignments. I’m finding out that when you finish your master’s in nursing leadership, you should be able to write quite well. I guess that is what management is worth in nursing: being able to make great talks, but when it comes down to actual work, there’s an issue from paper to reality. Sometimes I wish I could just in a hypothetical world, then there would be no issues because my classes instructed me how to handle that type of world. Granted, there are good managers out there, but I think those schools (where the good managers graduated from) have either small classrooms or no advertisement. Another potential reason there are good managers is that they goofed off during class and did last minute cramming( statistics show that crammed knowledge tends to be lost faster than that knowledge studied over time) so when it was done they still knew how to use common sense (for those who took more time with the information… the information took the place of the common sense that was stored in the brain….it has to go somewhere and our brains are not some infinite storage space like most hard drives these days).
A male nurse, where did this start? You look at all those old pictures and it’s these women in white that are called nurses. Still, women in the medical field didn’t take a true hold until the Civil War. You need the women to care for the sick and dying, and all the men are either doctors or soldiers, so you got to have someone to care for the sick (like you would ask a doctor to do that). The female nurse then took more of a hold in our society, but this blog is about male ones. I think the economy spurred on male nurses. When there is a down economy (some people are still looking for their first good economic season) the men need money and boom….. Male nurses came on the scene. By the time males came on the scene the poor working condition phase was through, and pay for nursing also increased making the transition easier from grease (cars) to blood. My favorite part of nursing is 3 work days and 4 off days, almost close to the bumper sticker about fishing and work.
Now to the topic of me as a nurse. I chose nursing because I needed a job. Sounds like that economic scenario again. Why does it seem money issues define our society? I would say when there are male nurses on the floor, the day is better, but since females are also reading this, I’ll not write this truth too much. From being a nurse and working in various roles in nursing I can say that people are stupid, either long term (chronic) or all of a sudden stupid act (acute). I’m trying to put more medical lingo as we go, so then this can serve as a source of medical knowledge. This job also shows you things stranger than fiction. I always have a story to tell about my day to my wife (who is not a nurse).
The last part of this column is story time. I’m using a story that did happen to me, to illustrate why management live on paper (but leaving names and locations out for privacy). I was working at a hospital and a patient died during my shift. Those people who think no one cares if you die in a hospital alone, you‘re wrong. There is quite a bit of work that a nurse needs to do once a person passes away. Back to the story, I got the patient prepped and filled out the paperwork for the patient’s body, and she was sent down to the morgue (I even had to help with that, another reason why your nurse does care if you die, it’s time consuming). Later that day I get a call from quality management questioning me why that lady didn’t get a flu shot on discharge from the hospital. What!!!!....she died, and it wasn’t like I wanted her to go. They said if I didn’t give a good answer on her chart about not getting the flu shot while being a patient, the hospital would not get credit and fall out of vaccine measures (that affects payment, once again, money making the world go around). I guess just writing DEAD isn’t enough, so I figure when someone is close to death and if the family is mourning already I’ll stop the visiting time and ask if the patient needs a flu shot….maybe one for the afterlife? Better yet, I’ll just give it to the person in the morgue or warn the funeral home when coming for the body that she didn’t have the flu shot this year so proceed with caution. In closing, I believe that healthcare doesn’t need a bailout, just more common sense.
Matthew, RN


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