Thursday, February 24, 2011


Frequently patients or family members think I'm a doctor as I walk in the room at the beginning of the shift, or they ask if I'm doing this until I go to medical school. Maybe it's because males are less than 10% of nurses or it could be my boring blue scrubs and demeanor. Face it women nurses tend to wear happy scrubs with lots of colors and patterns. Yes, that is a stereotype and that's my point. As a male nurse we are stereotyped a lot.

Everybody stereotypes or jumps to conclusions about something or someone, its human nature. We do it with individual people, races, cultures, communities and even whole countries, and of course the occupational stereotypes.

Teaching is still a women dominated profession and we keep hearing about the ones getting caught doing a little extra curricular activities with their students.

Is there anybody who doesn't know a lawyer joke or have something positve to say?

Body building and steroid use equals small testicles. Does anybody outside of bodybuilders think this is a profession?

Doctors have that God complex. Personally, I notice this trait more in the Neurosurgeons.

Try not to stereotype a secretary, cop, construction worker, flight attendant, cook, trucker, librarian, farmer or architect. They are all noble professions, but it seems every occupation can bring up some stereotypes so don't go postal on me.

If you are offended or agree then good, because nurses still have the worst stereotype. Look at this ad I found in the Vegas phone book a while back.

For every one person who associates Florence Nightingale with nurses, one hundred think of this stereotype.


rnraquel said...

I am so LOLing over that ad. When I was a student nurse, we were so not hot. No short skirts for us. We wore shapeless uniforms that made even the cutest females look matronly. We had dark circles and bloodshot eyes and were probably not the most fun and friendly bunch. I guess they do things differently in Vegas :)
All the time patients do not pay much heed to me, but then call the male techs "Dr." and give them their undivided attention.
Go figure!

Krista said...

I've had more than one pervy patient with the exact fantasy that ad encourages even sans the short skirt and high heels. Scrubs aren't the sexiest attire, but I can't count the number of times I've had to redirect attention from my boobs or butt. It's got to be the most annoying stereotype ever.

Nighthawke said...

I found the add amusing and totally agree that the stereotype exists. I'll be entering my nursing program next year and I've already had people say similar thing to me asking if I'm just doing this "in the mean time".

As for doctors with god complexes, My sons neurosurgeon is an absolutely brilliant man, but he is so condescending, distant, cold and horrible that I can hardly stand to converse with him, but I would not have wanted anyone else to do my sons SB closure when he was an infant.

Nighthawke said...


Thats horrible.

Absentbabinski said...

Oh wow, sexy nurses? :P

We have a no nurses, policemen or teachers rule in the bedroom (I think might add doctors to it, as well), given our families and respective professions.

When I nursed full-time everyone thought i was gay - not that I minded especially, I figure if that's something that bothers you as a man, you probably shouldn't go into nursing.

Stereotyping, labelling and stigma are part and parcel of life, sadly. But if you understand where it comes from and the negative ways it can affect you you might be able to stay on top of it. At least the bits of it you can control; you might not be able to stop people calling you Dr, but you can not let it get to you :)

undergrad RN said...

Got a new instructor in clinical today:

Instructor to male student: Wow, so how did you get interested in nursing?

Student: Well, I used to be a chemical lab tech, but I missed interacting with people, and nursing seemed to fit the bill for my interests.

Instructor: Wow! You know, there are lots of places in nursing for men. There are lots of machines in Emerg, ICU, OR - none of that sissy bed-making or peri-care. Not like the unit we're on now.

Student: Actually, I LIKE the unit we're on now...

It's so funny how people think they're so awesome at breaking down gender stereotypes, yet reinforce them at the very same time...

C said...

This is interesting- because I get the exact opposite reaction.
me: hi, i'm a second year medical student working with dr blah blah
patient: oh, lovely- now are you studying to be a nurse?

such stereotypes...

the blonde md said...

I'm a young first year medical student having just turned 22 and people ask me if I'm currently in nursing school as well.. after I'm introduced as a medical student. Oh well.. and yes stereotypes suck :(