READER REPORT:

Not a male nurse, just a nurse, thanks

DERYCK HUMPHRIES
Last updated 10:50 20/06/2014
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TOUGH JOB: Working in a profession dominated by one gender, like nursing, can make it tough to break down stereotypes.

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Women working in a man's world

Men can't comprehend what I do Not a male nurse, just a nurse, thanks

It is interesting, how we still have a focus on women in the workplace, and gender bias.

The interesting thing is, it cuts both ways.

Men getting discriminated against by women? No, surely not. Well actually, surely yes.

I have worked in a female-dominated work environment, and I was discriminated against.

It is why I left a job that I enjoyed.

I trained as a nurse.

When I trained, all the stereotypical questions were asked, sometimes to my face, and sometimes behind my back.

Is he gay? No.

Is he some kind of pervert? No.

I was also referred to as a male nurse, not a nurse, but a  male nurse, as if my skills and qualifications were somehow different or less.

The most obvious examples of sexism I encountered were from inside my profession.

When I completed my obstetrics and gynaecology class, we were given our ward assignments, and strangely, whilst my female counterparts were sent to delivery, post natal clinic, etc., I was posted to a surgical ward.

When I queried the assignment, I was told ask why I would want to work in those areas, and told the women wouldn't want me there anyway.

I don't know about you, but the thought of being involved in bringing a new life into the world is, although probably slightly different for a male, still very exciting. Fortunately, I objected to being excluded from obstetrics and gynaecology on the basis that if a male doctor could work there, why couldn't I.

I ended up working in delivery, and it was the most amazing time.

Strangely, none of the women whose births I assisted with ever objected to my presence. I think it had something to do with the fact they were otherwise occupied.

I have since helped my partner deliver our own two children.

I was also used as a mobile crane, when I thought that girls could do anything, even being called by another ward when on night shift to lift an obese patient. Strangely, when I asked for assistance, it was rarely forthcoming.

Perhaps, instead of looking at the difficulties women face in male dominated workplaces, what we should be looking at is discrimination of any type in any workplace.

Instead of regarding sexism as a male problem, start looking at it as a humanistic problem.

While we are at it, let's celebrate the differences between the sexes, and more importantly, let's celebrate the differences between us all as humans.

Maybe, if we understand the differences between all of us, and learn to collaborate rather than differentiate, we'd all get along so much better.


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