Meet Andrew, male nurse

Image: James Peragine | Veer

Overwhelming flood of estrogen, meet outnumbered testosterone factor. Welcome to the unit!

I’m no guy, but I can make my own assumptions as to what it would be like to be a new graduate male nurse. It’s hard enough being a new graduate – you are the “fresh meat,” the minority, the inexperienced, the moldable, the gullible, the petrified, the useless, the…need I go on?

Now imagine taking those feelings and combining them with feelings of judgment. Introducing, new graduate male nurse. I will say that society in recent years is more liberal and less critical of male nurses than, let’s say, when the movie Meet the Parents came out but the reality exists that when a woman enters the nursing field, nobody questions her intentions. When a man enters the field, everyone raises an eyebrow and the gossiping females start running their mouths.

“I heard he’s married, but to a woman or a man?”

“Guess he couldn’t make it in medical school.”

“Wonder what his wife thinks.”

You could call me a hypocrite for stating all of the aforementioned, you could call me insensitive, you could accuse me of passing judgment, of imposing slander on our profession. For those of you who have read my previous blog posts, you probably know that I love this profession more than most people love, let’s say, chocolate cake. But I have heard all of these exact quotes/concerns about male new graduates from my very own coworkers, female coworkers that is.

My reason for this post? Meet Andrew. Twenty nine-year old male who pursued nursing as a second degree because he loves people. And to be more specific, he adores children. Andrew is married, to a woman. Andrew is a charming, funny, and a phenomenal nurse. Andrew is a new graduate and is surprisingly enough one of the most requested nurses on the unit. Do you know why? Because he’s a man.

Our male teenage patients sure as heck don’t want a young bubbly blonde nurse taking care of them. They want Andrew. The father of five girls who sits at the hospital with his two-year-old daughter is drowning in estrogen. There’s a male nurse? I want Andrew. There’s a total care 200 lb patient that needs manpower to be turned every two hours. Andrew has big muscles. We need Andrew!

My point behind these silly scenarios is that male nurses are just as crucial to the profession as female nurses, and should be just as widely embraced. Out of my nursing class that graduated 185 licensed RNs, three of them were men. Sad statistic.

Since working at a teaching facility, I have seen a rampant increase in female residents rotating through and commend those women on their tenacity to take on a role as doctor in a male-dominated profession. I now want to commend those men in the field of nursing for embracing their roles as male nurses, and recognize them for overcoming an attached stigma. I’m sure it’s not always easy being a minority in a profession, and I know from experience that it’s definitely not always easy being surrounded by women all the time. So next time you see a male nurse in the hospital, give him a high five for a job well done. Well done, Andrew!

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Nicole Lehr

Nicole Lehr is a pediatric nurse. She can be described in three adjectives: content, thankful and fortunate. All credit for the aforementioned description can be given to the love she has for her profession as an RN. She graduated from University of Florida with her Bachelor’s in Nursing and moved to Atlanta to work at the Cardiac Stepdown Unit at Children’s — her dream job.

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14 Responses to Meet Andrew, male nurse

  1. Sean Dent

    This. Was. Awesome.
    Thank you so much for this candid synopsis of how it happens.

  2. Anthony

    Thank you Nicole. I really appreciated your thoughts

  3. I am a male nurse too, i third courser. i work for Hospice and i want to experience working in an acute setting too.

  4. Thanks Nicole, for appreciating male nurses like me. I have a blog too and it’s all about my work as a male nurse… hope you find time to visit.

  5. thanks nicole, for appreciating male nurses like me. I have a blog too and it’s all about my job as a male nurse. I hope you find time to visit.

  6. yb

    thank you for the husband is a nurse.i appreciate my husband more especially after reading the way,im also a nurse.

  7. Jim Murphy RN

    I have been a “NURSE,” for over 33 years. My license and degrees all say “Nurse.” No where does it say “Male Nurse.” I appreciate anything positive about men who are nurses and thank this writer for her words. But to educate the world of nurses, I am a nurse who is male, just as my wife is a nurse, but she is not called a female nurse, why should men who are nurses, be called “male nurses?”

  8. Rahadyan S

    Thanks for this. As an older (late 40’s) student, it’s an important reminder.

    It’s also a great rebuttal for the former boss who made fun of me (and my various relatives who are nurses) at my last job (in journalism): ” ‘Oh, nurse, could you please fluff my pillow? Add water to my flowers?’ “

  9. JohnDZ

    Thank you for the article, I’m an RN, and male. I’m also a 30 year old father of two and a husband, I’d like to think that I don’t fit the negative stereo types, but can accentuate the positives. Thanks!

  10. Jeffrey Schultz, RN

    I am a Registered Nruse who happens to be male. I do have a lot of patients who request me to be their Nurse but it has nothing to do with my gender (or muscles). Men are just as capable of being careing as women. When someone says to me “Ohh, you’er a malenurse…” I simply smile and reply “Yes, but I take care of females too!” That never fails to get a smile and a laugh out of the patient and sets a good tone for the shift.

  11. Refreshing! Thx!

  12. Lu

    We have many male nurses where I work and it now has definitely become the norm. You really don’t hear any of those questions you posed in the article. Although I’m sure our Nurses have heard them all through school. We love all of our new nurses and our patient’s especially love many of our male nurses. So much so that at times I am feeling like a minority. But hey, I had so many years in before that happened so let it be their turn to shine. They are good to their patient’s and that’s what really matters.

  13. Patrick

    I am a nurse, I am male and I am also gay. From my experience the stereotype about the gale male nurse has subsided greatly in this country. There are still gay men that are nurses, but we are the minority. I myself would find life much easier if people would stop assuming I am heterosexual. To my knowledge sexuality is not the first thing that my female counterparts wonder when they meet a new male nurse or nurse grad. In the article Ms. Lehr seems to be relieved that Andrew was straight. Would it have made a difference if he were gay? I do admit that new male grads stand out, and there is often talk about his motivation, but sexuality(at least in this part of the country) does not come into play.

  14. Trauma1

    I am a “female” nurse, my husband is also a nurse. He has survived 45 years, the first ones were the hardest. He came in when all the questions always were asked, he was drafted, went to Vietnam, at least no one asked him there, he spent 3 months in a hospital after the helicopter was shot down, he did trauma and ICU transport all his career. He tells the story he heard from a friend, men were the first nurses then they were needed to fight during the crusades and they used the camp followers to nurse and “care” for the men. The women screwed it up and now we are back. He has been an advocate for nursing advancement in the field all his career