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Thread: frustrated male CNA

  1. #1
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    Angry frustrated male CNA

    When I became a CNA 2 years ago I thought being a man would be an advantage. We are definately in the minority--affirmative action and what-not. Boy was I wrong. I'm wondering if I'm overeacting here or if other men have shared my experiences.

    My first problem is assignments. On my floor we have preset assignments, varying on how many CNAs actually show up that day. We have a weekly rotation through these assignments. If there are no male cares on my assignment most charge nurses tell me to just deal with it and trade them off on my own. This often means I give away a woman who only needs help putting her shoes on for a 400 lb total dependant hoyer lift transfer with C-diff. (this is a made up example--I rightly fear HIPAA) I have no choice, I can only take what the female aides will give me. If I complain -I- am the problem because I'm making the charge nurses job harder. AAAARRGGGHHH!

    My second aggrivation is the double standard when it comes to "pet names" and such. Many female aids will sit on male residents laps, kiss them on the cheek and such things. This doesn't bother me as long as the resident is cognizent enough to know it's just flirting. After all it feels good to feel attractive I understand this. The supervisers don't care either. HOWEVER if I merely call someone sweetheart, or honey, I get called to the supervisers office and am warned that my behavior is inapropriate and will be officially reprimanded if it continues. To be clear we have several dementia/MR patients who are obsessed with me and I would never EVER do anything to encourage this behavior by using pet names with them.

    My last problem are no male care patients themselves. There are three "categories" of them as I see it:

    a) Cognizent woman who just don't want men taking care of them: I completely respect this. I can totally understand why a woman wouldn't want a man washing them and such.

    b) Dementia patients with history of making inapropriate comments, touching or grabbing men: I don't care if I get groped or sexually harrassed by these people. They don't know whats going on anyway. It's a heck of a lot better then someone throwing feces at me reguardless. The home is basically worried that someone will hear these comments and assume sexual abuse is going on and report it, bringing some big state investigation. Now, if there is a documented history of them making coments like this any investigation should realize that this is merely a behavior of the resident and is not an issue. Least, thats the way it *should* be. Also, there are way more men that have these same behaviors towards women and they don't make them no female care. This double standard causes tension between myself and the female aids. Unlike myself these behaviors do bother them.

    c) The POA/guardian doesn't want male care for the resident: This one aggrivates me most of all. This implies all male CNA's are potential rapists who can't be trusted. This is offensive to the highest degree. Now I could understand if it was an 18 year old comatose porn star or something. If male CNA's can't be trusted to control their perversions with one resident they can't be trusted with any and therefore should only give care to men.

    Any other guys out there have these kind of problems? Please tell me I'm not alone.

  2. #2
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    Cool Re: frustrated male CNA

    I always told the male CNAs to let me know if a female resident didn't want them to work with her or if they otherwise felt uncomfortable, to come get me and if I could, I would go with them to act as a witness. I spoke to the male CNAs and I also spoke to the cognizant female residents that might pose objections. I also made it clear to the residents that I trusted and supported the CNA not to do anything inappropriate, but that it was literally impossible for them to have female caregivers 100% of the time. Things generally worked out. I must say that I find it inappropriate for the female CNAs to be flirting with and sitting on the laps of male residents. This type of behavior could be technically characterized as harassment and the charge nurses and administration could be called on the carpet for this. They are working with their heads in the sand regarding this behavior. I would look for a different place to work if your supervisors are making it too unpleasant for you. You don't deserve to be singled out in the manner that you describe. There has to be a place out there where you can be a respected member of the team. Good luck with your situation. I hope you can resolve it so things are better for you in the future.

  3. #3
    Ricu
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    Hi Maquick,

    Even with appropriate conduct safeguards enforced, the gender of an employee does on occasion, become an issue. There will always be special circumstances like family or patient insistence on a certain gender care provider. First we are human and this cannot be changed. Feelings are there and when they are strong, must be honored.

    In long term care centers, you grow close to your residents and showing affection is perfectly fine. Often they're lonely and scared and staff really function as surrogate family. I've been hugged and kissed and I've given hugs and kisses. Use good judgement and definitely never sit in anyone's lap.

    When it comes to personal care, you must be indifferent. It's been my experience that women especially elderly, are accustomed to male physicians so usually aren't offended. How you approach doing their care can trigger a little anxiety. If you're very nervous or awkward, they will pick up on that. From what you said, it sounds like you have the right disposition. It's not common to find someone who can put personal violations into perspective, even from the demented. As you well know by now, there are a lot of deeply rooted issues around personal care especially of the cognitively impaired. Take reasonable precautions and honor requests whenever you can. Never take offense if you're refused because it's not personal.

    The scenario of regularly loading the the male employee with the more physically challenging assignment is discriminitory. You have a legitimate complaint. With the proper equipment, the size of the patiient shouldn't matter. That said, it's an old way of thinking that will likely never go away especially if it's supported. Very often men will volunteer to take the heavier assignment simply because of their social conditioning so it's rare that the issue is challenged and changed.

    These matters will be found to some degree in every healthcare institution, but a well run facility will spend a lot of time team building and fostering good communication. Men and women can work together and both respect and celebrate each others' strengths and differences.

    Even after two years, you're relatively new to healthcare. Being a man in this setting is hard but you're right, as a male, you are uniquely valuable and eventually, you will get accustomed to these weird litle things.


    As others have already said, maybe it's time to do a little job shopping.

    Good luck,

    R

  4. #4
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    thanks for the supportive responses. I have been thinking of looking for work elsewhere. A hospital may be an interesting choice. Smaller assignments, but heavier care as I understand it.

    Also I wouldn't have to deal with long term relationship deaths. I was out for a week on FMLA leave to find a resident who I was unbelievably close to had died unexpectedly. I'm still crushed that I wasn't there for her/him(god I hate HIPAA sometimes....) at the end. I know it wasn't my fault but I still blame myself for some stupid reason.

    My only problem is that I would feel like I was betraying my residents. I know many of them would be very depressed if I left. I suppose if I left on good terms I could still come and visit them. Maybe I could talk to therapeutic recreation and start some kind of weekly game/movie whatever club in his/her's honor on a volunteer basis. That would be nice.

  5. #5
    Ricu
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    Quote Originally Posted by maquick View Post
    thanks for the supportive responses. I have been thinking of looking for work elsewhere. A hospital may be an interesting choice. Smaller assignments, but heavier care as I understand it.

    Also I wouldn't have to deal with long term relationship deaths. I was out for a week on FMLA leave to find a resident who I was unbelievably close to had died unexpectedly. I'm still crushed that I wasn't there for her/him(god I hate HIPAA sometimes....) at the end. I know it wasn't my fault but I still blame myself for some stupid reason.

    My only problem is that I would feel like I was betraying my residents. I know many of them would be very depressed if I left. I suppose if I left on good terms I could still come and visit them. Maybe I could talk to therapeutic recreation and start some kind of weekly game/movie whatever club in his/her's honor on a volunteer basis. That would be nice.
    Hey again,

    It really does sound like you're ready for a change if not to go into something different like a hospital, maybe a different LTC. Hospital based patient care is challenging in different ways. I don't think the assignments are necessarily heavier and sometimes they may not be smaller. You will do more intensive care, like vitals, blood sugars and so on. If you have good assessment skills, you will be invaluable to the nursing staff.


    I like your idea about game and movie activities. It's a great way for you to remain in contact. You are an important part of their lives and they are important to you. This brings me to where I say that it's perfectly normal and healthy to mourn the death of your resident. Sure, you wish you were there but try not to feel guilty that you weren't. Some believe that it's not wise to get too close but how can you not? What is "too close"? Even if their stay is shorter(usually), you will get as close to your hospital patients. It's amazing how quickly you can come to love someone.

    Finally, in order to "survive" in healthcare, work to keep boundaries. Let people into your heart but be careful about how much you let them into your life. You have to have a safety zone.

    Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

    R

  6. #6
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    If nurse aides are sitting on the laps of male residents, all I can say is: wow. That is really unprofessional! I am new to the CNA field, but I know that is wrong.

  7. #7
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    first off, lendy i agree with you. That is completely unprofessional and should be addressed and dealt with accordingly. Second off, I am a male aid and the first LTC facility I worked at, I could only do one assignment on one hall in the entire facility. It did upset me because if i was rotated out, absolutely no one would let me do there care on any other assignment and would have to trade off all of those residents for the residents that were on the one assignment I could do, which became annoying. I approached that charge nurse, as well as the DON of the facility and I got no where. I have been in the healthcare field since I was 14 years old (being prehospital ambulatory care) and love doing the field, but I do feel bad that I am a male and can barely do anything in a facility because of the sex that I am.

    So, I feel your pain dude. Just deal with it the best you can because there is no other field than that of the healthcare field.

  8. #8
    Ricu
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    Quote Originally Posted by rpt86 View Post
    first off, lendy i agree with you. That is completely unprofessional and should be addressed and dealt with accordingly. Second off, I am a male aid and the first LTC facility I worked at, I could only do one assignment on one hall in the entire facility. It did upset me because if i was rotated out, absolutely no one would let me do there care on any other assignment and would have to trade off all of those residents for the residents that were on the one assignment I could do, which became annoying. I approached that charge nurse, as well as the DON of the facility and I got no where. I have been in the healthcare field since I was 14 years old (being prehospital ambulatory care) and love doing the field, but I do feel bad that I am a male and can barely do anything in a facility because of the sex that I am.

    So, I feel your pain dude. Just deal with it the best you can because there is no other field than that of the healthcare field.
    Ryan,

    It sounds like you've been held back in one place for so long, you believe that having restricted assignments is normal for men in the healthcare field. It isn't. Look around at other places.

    Spread your wings, man.

    R

  9. #9
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    i was basicly talking about a LTC environment. I am actually enrolling in Paramedic School in the spring. I have been an EMT as well for the past 6 years. I love being a CNA though. Finding a job as a male aid has been very hard to find. The staffing agency I work for now is having a hard time getting me hours due to the fact of my sex. Its just the experience I have had. If I could have you have some ideas for me, can you please pass them on to me?

    Thanks
    Ryan

  10. #10
    Ricu
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    Re: frustrated male CNA

    Quote Originally Posted by rpt86 View Post
    i was basicly talking about a LTC environment. I am actually enrolling in Paramedic School in the spring. I have been an EMT as well for the past 6 years. I love being a CNA though. Finding a job as a male aid has been very hard to find. The staffing agency I work for now is having a hard time getting me hours due to the fact of my sex. Its just the experience I have had. If I could have you have some ideas for me, can you please pass them on to me?

    Thanks
    Ryan
    Hey again,

    There are so many rehab and LTC locations around me and a good number, maybe 1/3 of their staff of CNAs are men. It amazes me to read about the hardships that men have being accepted in this area. I'm sorry to hear about what you have been going through but as you can see, you're in good company.

    In the meanwhile, if it's a possibility for you, look into working in a hospital ED. It's been a place where men seen to have had an easier time being accepted and it would be a great place to work as a Paramedic student. It sounds like you have a good plan.

    Good luck and, hang in there.

    R

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