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Double Standard for Nurses?

Double Standard for Nurses?

Is there a double standard at your hospital?

Nealeigh Mitchell | NursingLink

June 10, 2010

Let’s face it ladies. The fight’s not fair in the hospital. We may be picking away at the salary gap but we still only earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And despite filling more seats at nursing school, fewer than 3 percent of Fortune 1000 CEOs are women.

So how does bias run rampant in the staff room? Long story short, men and women are judged, rewarded, and even punished differently for doing the same nursing job.

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Unjustified and unfair? Yes. But the harsh reality remains. The only way to climb the corporate ladder is to recognize how male nurses control the power and alter your behavior accordingly. You’ve got to play the game to get to the top.

Here are a few common stereotypes, misperceptions and actions that encourage or maintain gender inequity.

Men are assertive. Women are aggressive.

It’s a hustle to the top, and the male-female power struggle usually leaves women with the short end of the sword. Males are raised to be cocky and competitive but if a woman dares adopt this “go-getter” attitude, she risks being branded as domineering and difficult. Macho men have a vested interest in keeping women reserved and compliant so they’re quick to call out a bold, budding female nurse. There’s a fine line between scrappiness and combativeness — one that men rarely have to walk.

Men are passionate. Women are emotional.

There’s no crying in the hospital. Alpha males pounce on a sensitive woman like it’s their job. But I’m not just talking about a massive meltdown in the middle of a patient rounds. Everyday emotions get misconstrued. For example, if a man gets irate and defensive over a differing opinion about patient care, he’s applauded for being steadfast and strong. When a woman raises her voice or offers a critique about the way the hospital is run, she’s the disagreeable hothead of the group.

Men scream. Women mutter.

Effective communication is the only way to get ahead. But it’s hard to get a leg up if you’re never heard. Women are too easily drowned out by men’s more emphatic, direct speech, so pick up the bullhorn and demand attention. Tone is crucial but your expressions are equally important. Instead of taking the timid route — like asking everything in the form of a question — ditch the wishy-washy language and speak with conviction. If you don’t have the courage, fake it. Sit up straight, make eye contact, and jump in. You advocate for your patients, so why shouldn’t you advocate for yourself?

Men steer. Women… →

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    There is some truth to what she says, some of it I disagree with, I think that a lot of the reason men are paid more is because they are quick to move over into a specialty, more women tend to work the floor and get paid less.

  • Teeppeed_035_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This is so much bull. I'm a male nurse and I have to tell you, i'm constantly defending myself from back biting, down talking and nit picking that the women at my job put the men through. And when we push back they get doe eyed and misty with the director and then we are the bad guys. We are the ones being discriminated against. Stop whinning and play fair.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    5) Stop making excuses....... Seems like this whole article is doing just that. What a load of crap. Women continue perpetuate this stereotype and it continues to keep the gender wars alive. It's like racism just not as popular anymore.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    What a load.

  • Picture_003_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Let's face are such PIGS!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    I've been a nurse for 12 years and have never been promoted over or paid more than the females I work with , not to say that this doesn't happen, but in my neck of the woods it doesn't. Second I was discriminated against, yes against not only in nursing school, but in job applications because of gender...the floor nurses would not let me see, let alone participate in a childbirth while in my OB rotation, until they were kindly reminded that the clinical site was getting paid to allow me clinical experieinces. Second, having been kept away from womens health so much in my career, when I decided to become an NP, I was grossely underprepared to take care of womens health issues. Imagine that . I remedied this by a 13 week rotation in a womens free clinic, and you know what, no one complained about getting good care.....I'd ahave to agree with the post that stated that the profession is it's own worst enemy, and furthering stereotypes, which this article blatantly does.....come on the whole type A aggressive vs assertive arguement based on gender just doesn't hold water under scrutiny by anyone with an ounce of education!. I will say that it is my opinion that this article is misguided, and prepares one to believe that men and women are not individuals and that their behavior patterns are predictable by gender.....hogwash! RD, MS/RN

  • C


    over 4 years ago


    The original article commits the logical fallacy of denying the antecedent and affirming the consequent. Thus, both it's premises and conclusions are false, irrational, and without foundation.
    The following is the URL to an article which disputes the myth that women are discriminated against in the work place with regard to wages:
    Women, in fact, since the late 1960's and early 1970's have received preferential treatment in employment and education over males, especially Caucasian males, through programs such as "Affirmative Action." These "affirmative action" programs have resulted in, amongst other things, the fact that real wages have not increased since their inception, the decreased competitiveness of American industry, and the stagnation of the American standard of living.
    "Affirmative action' is essentially an extremely oppressive and discriminatory form of government sponsored discrimination based upon gender and race.
    With regard to Nursing, men only represent about 5-6% of nurses. Despite this fact, men in nursing not only do not receive "affirmative action" in nursing, they, in fact DO NOT receive protection from discrimination in nursing as a result of gender discrimination.
    For women to demand and receive preferential treatment, by law, in education and employment because of their gender then assert that men as a group are discriminating against them is committing the logical fallacy of denying the antecedent and affirming the consequent for the purpose of justifying this same discrimination. In more plain language, the denigrating and false attacks on men are simply the means by which women destroy men's rights and obtain unjust advantage.
    BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.” From George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

  • Google_image_result_for_http___transitoriamente


    over 4 years ago


    I agree with Nancy completely. Before we get all defensive, we should consider why this article was written in the first place. Whether we like it or not, gender stereotypes exist in ANY workplace, not just in a medical setting. As women, we need to learn how to deal. And this article is helpful in that it tells us just exactly that... how to deal.

    It may seem like it's enforcing gender stereotypes but I really just read it as 'hey, these stereotypes exist. and this is what you can do about them.' In no way is it telling you 'this is how you are and you should just accept the situation.' I think as women, it's important to recognize these limitations in the workplace (again, whether you like it or not), rather than being defensive, all up in arms about these stereotype claims. Come on, you've never heard of these stereotypes before? Just because you deny it, doesn't mean they don't exist. If you've never experienced these stereotypes, consider yourself fortunate! I personally know many women who have, and this article is for women like them.

    Thanks for the article and showing us as women, how to deal with hurdles we may or may not encounter.

  • Nlavatar_max50


    over 4 years ago


    While I agree that the tone of the article does enforce gender stereotypes, I think some of the suggestions mentioned are helpful for women to assert themselves in the workplace--whether it be an corporation or a hospital.

    Men in the workplace generally keep their career interests at the forefront of their actions while women look out for the team. Oftentimes they do this while putting their own interests to the side. While the ultimate objective of nursing is patient care, I think it's important to see this is a lifetime career and for women to make it such by standing up for what they deserve.

  • Photo_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I do agree that woman are more supportive in the workplace than men. I think many fields, not just nursing, still react differently to gender in the workplace.

  • Dj091208_max50


    over 4 years ago


    As a male nurse Im most aghast by what Ive read in this article. I infact felt like I had to work 2X harder then the females in school to prove myself because I dealt with at least one instructor when I got my orginal CNA that men dont belong in nursing and actually caused me to fail my CNA I the 1st time through. After that I did always feel like I had to prove myself as a male in a female dominated field. Additionally I like many other males have felt that stereotype that oh hes a male he can do it himself without help.. That attitude even as a CNA lead me to develop a bad back already (of course 8 yrs previously in EMS didnt help starting the process of course). Now I will say its funny but Ive actually heard Administrators say that they like Male nurses more in certain situations because we apparently call out less so we're more reliable in the job (I dont know if thats true or not I doubt it overall). I should ad Ive been the only male nurse at my last few jobs (currently working adolescent pysch at a PRTF). The odd thing is I do find is there are double standards indeed. I mean a male MD is ok to help and take care of a female especially when it comes to certain things but a male nurse is unacceptable and we either have to change assignments around which i think at times tends to infurate the female nurses (this happened a time or 2 in the case of one job I had).. The sad truth is males get discriminated against in the field more then the article writer probably wants to admit. Especially in LTC and skilled nursing Im willing to bet the number of male nurses is much lower then say in Acute/Emergency Care. We've been mostly pigeonholed it seems in my estimation to critical care/ER and Med Surg (with the obvious discount for OB obviously). Basically postions where its good to have a male around or the patient is too sick to complain about a male taking care of them and that is no more fair then the many of the issues author of this article states about men in the nursing field having "an unfair advantage". The sad truth is women at times can be their own worse enemy the catiness and backstabbing are rampant and hurt morale while most men just want to come do our jobs take care of our patients and go home.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    over 4 years ago

    I think this article did what it was supposed to, which is point out that whether we like it or not, there are still discrepancies at work, some of which unfortunately are contingent on our gender rather than our performance. I thought it was well argued and liked reading it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    I think this article goes a little over-board with the gender steorotypes. My last 3 bosses are female and though they tend to have a different management style (or is that MY bias getting in the way?) I find them to be good bosses - assertive, yes, and fair as well.
    This is 2010, time to do away with the old thinking. I for one think it's changed - a lot!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    " I always applaud having a male nurse around,especially Behavioral Health Units.
    Nothing makes me feel," more secure", when **Mr. Atlas is called,and the client who is,
    " Out of Control", is Secured, Psychiatrist readjusts meds needed and proper documentation
    to support the cause is completed. ** It sure beats a trip to the ER".

  • Lake_murray_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The harsh reality is, yes double standards do exist in some companies. I ran into this at [name withheld by author] nursing home a few years back when a Nurse Manager told me she changed the floor assignment to give me the heavy patients because I was a man and was physically stronger and she expected me to lift heavier patients than my female co-workers. When I asked since she expected more work did that mean I could get a commensurate salary raise, she laughed and walked off. I found a new job three weeks after that. Fortunately I haven't run into that since. I have heard some, not all, other nurses (women) say under their breath when they thought I couldn't hear them, "Men don't belong in nursing." Is this article offensive? The only thing I find offensive about it is that it was necessary to call attention to this problem.

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