Being a male nurse doesn’t come without its stigma, but I’m here to say proudly that there are more benefits to being a male nurse than drawbacks. This is a look into my job and my life.
A Day in the Life of a Male Nurse
It’s 6:00 on a Thursday evening and the alarm on my phone wakes me up from a deep sleep. I completed my wake-up ritual; put the coffee on, take a shower, have some “breakfast” and away I go. I arrive to the hospital and report to my third night shift to end this weeks 3/3 nights. After receiving the report, I begin to think about which patient I must attend to first. As a nurse with seven patients, I’ll more than likely be having my hands full.
I proceed to enter my patient’s room, and begin my initial survey; “Room looks clean, patient is not in distress, patient is well groomed, and sitting up in the bed with family at bedside eating their dinner.”
With a quick knock on the door, I slowly push the door open and look in. The patient hurries to sit up and says to the family, “Lets clean up, the doctor wants to come in.”
“No ma’am, my name is Eric and I’ll be your nurse tonight. How have you been feeling since your surgery?”
“Oh, I thought you were going to be my new doctor, I seen so many doctors since I have been in the hospital.”
I continue with my nursing assessment, gather vitals and then quickly step out of the room to chart; now onto patient number 2, I think to myself, grab my sheet used to take notes on during report to prepare myself with this patient’s history. Again, with a quick knock on the door, I present myself. The patient is laying in bed in bed talking on the phone as I enter and can hear: “Oh dear, sorry I have to hang up the phone, the doctor is here and he has to talk to me, I’ll call you right back. So doctor will I be having my surgery tonight?”
“I’m sorry ma’am but my name is Eric and I'll be your nurse for tonight.”
The remainder of the shift continued to be smooth, which is a rarity. Nightly medications were given, glucose was checked and our nursing assessments/check in were completed in timely fashion.
I can hear a beep on the unit loud speaker; “Eric, please come to the phone, phone call from ER line one.”
I finished my charting and start my walk over to the nurse’s station and pick up the line, “This is Eric, who am I speaking with?” With just one phone call, I have been give an eighth patient that has to be admitted to my floor.
Transporters brought the patient up and I was able to complete the admission process. At this time, I am able to check to see if any new orders have been added to my patients. As I look on the computer, it reads one new order my newly admitted patient, insert foley catheter.
I think to myself, simple enough, I’ll get my supplies and will be back to charting in no time.
The foley is inserted with no issues or complaints from the patient, but they do have one question at this time: “why would a male ever go into this profession?”
I was shocked initially as to why they couldn’t understand, as a male, my reasoning for becoming a nurse. I thought the reasons why someone would get into this field of medicine were as plain as day. At this point, I was intrigued to see what their idea of a man in nursing meant to them.
“Well, not to be rude, but isn’t nursing a women’s profession? Maybe I’m old fashioned but usually we see women doing this job.”
The Benefits of Being a Male Nurse
I reached out to friends of mine who are males in nursing to ask what their beliefs of male nurses are. As it turns out, being a male nurse comes with many, many benefits.
Male nurses spark conversation and build relationships
“Being in the 10% of the male nursing population, always sparks interest in patients, family at bedside, nurses, and physicians, this acts as an initiator to opens lines of communication and again promotes an environment where communication is encouraged.” Blake writes, who is CCRN ICU nurse and currently enrolled in a nurse anesthetists program.
I one hundred precent agree with this statement. I have had many opportunities to educate patients on my specific reasons for becoming a nurse and with allowing my patient to know small details of myself. This allows the patient to feel comfortable and become more trusting of me to provide their care. We all know that our shifts do not always allow for this type of conversation to occur with every patient at every shift; however, when an opportunity opens and I know it will help the patient to become more comfortable, then go for it. Also, I can be a calming factor to my patients when I teach them regarding care, what to expect for surgery and who to follow up with once they are released to go home.
The benefits of being a male nurse are the same benefits of being a nurse, period
Being a male nurse to me would entail what being a nurse would mean to any nurse, male or female. This profession offers the ability to influence a patient’s hospital stay, surgery experience and overall healing experience. Nursing has teamwork deeply embedded into its core - we work together without realizing it.
For example, a nurse is in a contact precaution room and ran out of 10 mL IV flushes. The nurse can shout out, “hey can someone grab me a flush” and before you know it, three nurses are there to help you or while you're working in the patient room and you colleague walks by, they'll almost certainly ask, “are you ok in there? Do you need anything?” These simple acts of teamwork and camaraderie is what makes me most proud to be in this profession. This nursing career slowly turns into your second family, the people on your unit slowly become your friends and most trusted advisors. Also, what an opportunity nursing provides to be able to give back to the community.
Now thinking back to my patient’s question: "Why would a male go into nursing?” I say proudly and confidently to that patient “Why wouldn’t I want to go into nursing!”.
About the author:
Eric Langlois BSN, RN is a registered nurse practicing family medicine in Miami, Florida. During his nursing school career, Eric joined a mentoring service that took first year students and helped them become adjusted to the nursing environment. As a new grad nurse who aspires to work in critical care (specifically the Cardiovascular ICU), Eric created his Instagram account to show others what it means to be a nurse and how nursing can have a positive impact on the community. Follow Eric on Instagram.