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ASK A STUDENT NURSE

'I get so angry when people refer to me as "The Male Student"'

  • 6 Comments

Do you have any advice for this student nurse?

“I knew when I said I was going to be a nurse that I would get a few jokes from my mates about doing “a girls’ job”. But what I really wasn’t prepared for was comments from my mentors and peers.

“Don’t get me wrong, most people treat me as any other student, but every now and then I come across a healthcare professional who feels the need to point out my gender or makes a patronising comment about how hard it must be for me or how impressive it is that I’m doing a caring job. More than once, people have assumed I’m gay.

“Does anyone else find this incredibly frustrating? How can we challenge these stereotypes?”

Ben, Leicester

 

Do you have any advice for Ben?

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  • 6 Comments

Readers' comments (6)

  • Johnathan Crane

    I'm a transgender student nurse (FTM) so I get a double whammy! I can understand why you feel so frustrated that people have to point out your gender as if it's relevant to your career choice. Maybe you should remind those people that nursing was a men's job before Nightingale, and that we're supposed to be looking at people as individuals, not as belonging to a category. You could even use it as a reflective piece for your portfolio if you wrote something about how you experience the attitude of other staff and patients, and what you'd like to do to change it.
    Most of all, be the best nurse you can and stand up for yourself. Remember why you made the choice, and enjoy yourself.

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  • Im a male student nurse and like you have had questions as to why i want to be a nurse (and not a Dr mostly).

    So far i have not found out why people seem too need to ask me and make me defend myself, but i have found some ways of making them think twice.

    the main way of doing this is by proving them wrong! if they have conceptions about male students, show them you can do it just as well if not better than others.

    I think as men we are lucky to be carving a new grove in nursing. it does not matter if you are male, female or indeed transgender, all that matters is that we care and we are competent in the care we give.

    As for changing the stereotypes, we are doing that every day we are on the wards, and every time we defend our choices. Its not a quick fix but a long road ahead.

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  • I understand your point of view, as a male student nurse myself I have been asked more than once about my sexuality, motivations and had all the patronising comments. I wouldn't say that I find it annoying, it's just part of being male and a nurse in today's society - we're a victim of stereotypes.

    In terms of challenging these stereotypes I believe the best way is to help recruit more male student nurses. The need for this was demonstrated by one of my lecturers asking whether I could write a piece for the university website about my experience of the course. And why was this? They hadn't had a single male applicant for the last two years. That I find shocking. Surely recruiting more males (in the learning disability branch at least) would go somewhere towards challenging these stereotypes.

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  • Maybe I'm lucky but I've never had any of these problems, people see me as a nurse, and that's it, gender doesn't come into question at all, and neither it should.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Mar-2014 11:16 pm

    sensitivities and personal perceptions?

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  • Pussy

    Oh get over it! Nursing is still seen as a female occupation so give it no more thought as I'm sure you're great and a bonus to any team. Just think of women police,soldiers,plumbers......Same difference. Good luck.

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