Confessions Of A Male Nurse: Dealing With Nasty Jokes, Sexual Propositions

male nurse confessions

It's a profession whose members help save lives on a daily basis. And given that nursing pays relatively well and is one of the fields projected to grow, more men are considering entering the traditionally female profession.

But male nurses are still the butt of jokes -- and not just in movies, as Ben Stiller's Greg Focker character is in "Meet the Parents." At least that's according to Reddit user Ultrafishe, who identified himself as a male nurse to describe what he says it's really like to be one. [Note: Reddit's "Ask Me Anything" section uses anonymous sources, which can't be verified. Excerpts that appear here retain their original spelling and grammar.]

When Ultrafishe started as a nurse in an hospital emergency room 2½ years ago, he wrote, the ribbing even came from doctors there. "But that's how it is when you start until you prove yourself. Now all the doctors seem to respect me and trust my judgement." (He didn't get into specifics about the barbs sent his way over his career, but said references to "Meet the Parents" were common, as was the use of the word, "murse," which he said he doesn't find offensive.)

Ultrafishe said that the only person who really gives him "crap" about being a male nurse is his uncle, who is foreign-born, and still "has the stereotype in his head that a nurse is someone who just pushes old people around in wheelchairs." Even a doctor who had teased him later invited him to his "waterfront home" after a particularly harrowing rescue in which Ultrafishe said that he helped save a life. (He didn't describe the specifics of the rescue or the comments made by the doctor.)

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Ultrafishe never directly answered questions about his sexuality, which was a matter of interest to many participants in the Reddit session. But he did say that being a male nurse means that patients do come on to him, but he's not really interested because his "patient population is usually pretty ghetto/nasty/possibly a prostitute." He did describe his female co-workers as "GORGEOUS."

How Patients React

Ultrafishe said that he learned early to always introduce himself as a nurse when walking into a room of patients to make sure that they don't think he's a doctor. "Quite a few" patients say they prefer "having a male nurse because they keep a cooler head in critical situations," he wrote.

To protect himself, though, Ultrafishe said that he makes sure a female colleague is in the room if he needs to insert a urinary catheter, presumably to shield himself from accusations of sexual harassment. ("People can say anything despite whether it happened or not.") Ultrafishe further said that he also makes sure to ask the patients if they'd prefer a woman do the job.

So why not go for the full M.D.?

The question, which may not always be asked of female nurses, was certainly on the mind of many of the participants of the Reddit session. And for Ultrafishe, the answer was simple: Lifestyle. He simply wants spare time to play his music on the side. (He didn't get into what kind of music he plays.) But either way, he said, he earns "a lot more money than most people" he knows.

But all the questions about gender and title shrivel in importance when considering the work that goes on in an ER, he said. He knows it sounds "cheesy," he wrote, but he was drawn to doing a "job that can make a difference."

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Steve Anderson

Many female nurses are perverts and unprofessional.

October 27 2013 at 10:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

South florida is a revolving door for nurse if they get Hire for PART TIME job cleaning room ,lote of young new RN leave afte 6 month ,Up north chaseing the money,or on the road like a trucker.

October 15 2012 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

A nurse career is not what it use to be for those that dream of being a nurse,studing for 3yr and the debt that you will aquired.the money is'nt there anymore.Infact hospital have been Lay-off their fultime nurse by the thousand around the country ,Why pay you the premium, when the foriegn nurse brought in with contract will do the job for 12$ a HR. Anyway there is too much abuse and bulling going on in the back ground on nurse on nurse abuse,it could be the supervisior might like your cute little nose, if that the case the CLICK will make your job three time as hard ,Lots of female nurse Bulling,seeing and hearing the screaming and fighting among these nurse is a very sad place to work especially when the pay is gone.

October 15 2012 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kamarul Fitri

I am a male student nurse and I also experienced the same thing during practical in the ward. People should get over about gender stereotype as it doesn't prove which gender provides the best care. Nurses, male or female did the same job which is to assist the patient as well as the doctors in providing care. I hope media will not make an advertisement or movie that shows stereotypes especially for male nurses. Respect others

August 25 2012 at 8:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My brother is an ER/Trauma nurse and loves his work. The only bad thing about it, according to him, is how the female nurses throw themselves at the doctors all day. LOL

August 23 2012 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carolyn Teresa Falko

I should have added that, as a high school teacher, I encourage my students to follow their passions, their dreams. I have taught 2 fine young men who came to me after school to share their interest in nursing. Sadly, they were afraid of the bullying that likely would have accompanied their admission in class. I highly encouraged them and suggested that they contact nursing programs to find out how many men were in the programs. I am sure they would be encouraged by the answer. I hope that nursing programs have incentives to encourage and support all their students, including the men..

As an aging baby boomer, I know I will need care. I don't care what gender the help comes from.

August 23 2012 at 3:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It should be mentioned that several "perks" go along with being a male nurse not mentioned here. Being in close proximity to pretty females cannot be ignored, even if the article speaks only of work duties etc, and I'm sure many male nurses are in demand for their physical strength, with tiny females needing assistance

August 23 2012 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carolyn Teresa Falko

I applaud the rise in the number of men in nursing,. I have had fantastic care from many nurses; their gender didn't matter. When as male nurse asked me if I was comfortable with him caring for me, I asked one simple question "Are you an RN.?" When he responded in the positive, I asked him to please take care of me because I needed help. I wish people would get over gender-stereotypes. Women make great engineers, construction workers, nuclear physicists, etc,. And men make wonderful kindergarten and elementary school teachers, florists, nurses, etc. And their sexual orientation doesn't matter. Gay or straight, as long as the person can do his/her job with competence and enthusiasm, PLEASE come and help me and my family.,

August 23 2012 at 3:45 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carolyn Teresa Falko's comment

Very well said. I totally agree!

August 23 2012 at 3:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have been a Nurse, then a Nurse Practicioner for 22 years. In that time, I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a patient request a female nurse. I have also had about the same number of times that a patient has requested a male nurse. It just isn't a big issue.
As to the doctor question, I tell them, I make as much as an average family practicioner, didn't have to go to school quite as long (about 2 years less in my case), and don't have to take much call, don't get emergencies in the middle of the night, have much smaller student loans, the list goes on. I love my job, and am very glad I went the way I did.

August 23 2012 at 3:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I am appalled at the seeming ineptness of the characterization of the nursing profession that males have to endure. As a male nurse, I have been gossiped about, hated, cursed, blackballed, propositioned, had my body talked about in lewd terms, while also demanded to do the more physical tasks because "you're male". Nurses have become cut-throat, hateful, political, and quick to condemn someone while they themselves are with faults. I have seen drug abuse, patient abuse, collegue abuse, sexual abuse, fraud, lying on charting, codes not called then later back dated for an order AFTER THE FACT to cover themselves, admissions of "fluffing" their thesis or dissertation to get graduated, and more. All was reported by me, then I was summarily dismissed for "other" things (despite having sterling reviews by patients and job performances). To not report is aiding and abeting these violations and illegal activities, and to report them is suicide. My background has been ER and ICU, with 5 certifications. I still have references, and have been charge RN, director, and admistration. Still, now, I cannot get an interview or a job. I have come to loathe the culture of nursing, while still hold high the Nightingale premise that all people should expect absolute quality care. There are those who feel that "its just part of the culture". That is wrong! IF a male does these things, he is dismissed, reported to the Board of Nursing, sued, or incarcerated. Yet a female is much more imune to the consequences. I truly love nursing, but I hate the culture that has come to be over the past 17 1/2 years.

August 23 2012 at 3:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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