Chapter 25: Cautious Caregivers
- caring for & about others is usually associated with women
- men are now entering the nursing profession in record numbers which is therefore challenging the
stereotype that men are inappropriate in the caregiver role.
- nursing literature suggests that men choose to become nurses due to a desire to help and care for
- due to the stereotypes giving with male nurses ( homosexuality and sexual aggression) many male
nurses do not become comfortable with their profession and patients
- gender stereotypes create discomfort and suspicion on the part of patients
- the discomfort tends to affect the ability of the male nurses
- to explore the experience of male nurses and the gendered and sexed relations that structure
different experiences for women and men in the same profession.
- masculinity = connells (1987) meanings are demonstrated through practices that capture the
performative nature of gender.
- masculinity is not uniform, this concept is reflected in the notion of hegemony and the dominance in
society of certain forms and practices of masculinity.
- male nurses may not measure up to the hegemonic standards due to their participation in ‘women’s
work’. ( homosexuality surrounds them)
- 8 male nurses, nova soctia, using convenience sampling technique ( 7-32 years of being Practical nurse
) therefore late twenties to mid fifties age range
- three participants were in leadership role
- one was homosexual
- data collected 1998 in two rounds of semi structured interviews
Affirmation of Caring
- participants affirmed the importance of caring and traits such as compassion, empathy, and honesty as
those gave meaning to their lives as nurses.
- men and women’s caring styles are not the same
- expressed conflicting opinions about whether male nurses were more task-oriented, more gentle or
-most participants commented that male nurses generally used touch less than their women
- humour and camaraderie(Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together) were identified as important expressions.
- humour added warmth and helped patients relax and feel more comfortable.
- humour is important for relieving male anxiety. be a buddy to male patients
- women may find some conversations inappropriate, compared to male on male conversation.
The problematic Nature of Men Nurses’ Touch
- touch was one expression of caring that participants identified as important, sometimes did not come
naturally to them as males
- touching and comforting others was acknowledged to re rewarding for participants and patients.
- male nurses touching female patients can be dangerous; misinterpret as molestation
- male nurses are unable to defend themselves against patient accusations -- vulnerable caregivers.
Assessing when it is safe to Touch
- knowing when, where and how is based on careful assessment of the patient and situation
- masculine norm for a male patient
- teen patients call for the nurses to be more cautious for they have a narrow perception for gay nurses.
- it is more acceptable for female nurses to have more touch than males. this was true for patient
perceptions, male nurses and female nurses perceptions
- female nurse reported inappropriate touching when male nurse touched a female patients shoulder
- father accused molestation when male nurse was changing the baby’s diaper
Strategizing to Protect Oneself from Accusations
1. take time to build trust before touching
2. maintaining a degree of formality by shaking the hand of a patient
3. projecting the traditional image of nurse to legitimize the role of men as nurses. ( wearing white
4. working in teams with women colleagues. ex; checking female patients on night shifts, entering a
room with teenage females
5. delegating tasks that required intimate touching of women patients, trade task with women nurse
6. modifying procedural techniques to minimize patient exposure and the need for intimate touching.
inject in the thigh not the butt
Going Against the Grain: Men Caregivers
- men tend to gravitate to nursing positions that require less touching contact. ( only two worked at
bedside that required intimate caregiving)
- participants still have vulnerability example those working in psychiatry -- full blown personality
disorder “ won’t be caught in the same room alone with them”
- in order to avoid uncomfortable situations male nurses distance themselves from traditional nursing
roles and the caring, ideology of nursing.
- they are tracked into elite specialty and leadership positions, considered more congruent with
prevailing notions of masculinity.
- power and prestige associated with small numbers of men in the profession
Feminization of Caring
- the need to learn to care and/or develop comfort with expressions of caring previously not practices, is supported in the nursing literature.
-paterson found that ma