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Curious: I had a not-so-great hospital experience. Am I too picky?


Alicia64
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I'll keep it short: I had back surgery w/ a phenomenal surgeon. The guy is amazing and super kind too.

 

But the hospital care after? Let's just say when I got home and dh got me to bed and left for a few mins., I started crying. It was an awful experience.

 

Here's my question. I wasn't allowed to get out of bed on my own in the hosp. which was fine. I had to call for help, go potty with someone nearby and then hobble back to bed.

 

This was news to me. I hadn't known that I couldn't go on my own. No biggie, I could deal.

 

Anyhoo. . . on the second night I rang the bell at midnight and a young man walked in. Sweet face, very kind, but looked to be about 20. (Could have been anywhere between 24 and 35: I don't know. He looked young.)

 

In my sleepiness I just said no. He pushed a little and said he helps people all the time and again in my sleepiness I said, "I've been through enough over the last two days, I don't need one more thing."

 

The female RN came in clearly annoyed and said, "I was in the room with another patient. Scott is my nurse and he helps me out." She took me to the rest room, but I'd clearly messed up.

 

Later I thought of my good friend from India who I can't get to see a male or female OBGYN. She would have said no to the young man and gotten a bladder infection holding it in all night. (Of course, the nurse would have shown up, but there's no way she would have been okay. If -- by some miracle -- she'd used the man's help, her husband would have been fried the next day.)

 

I was in the hosp. for four days and today is my fifth day and I'm home. Please go easy. I'd love feedback, but I hope we can be civil.

 

Also, I wasn't at all crying from this situation. As much as I tried to be compliant and say thank you over and over, the staff was cranky, snippy, and irritable w/ each other and me. I just wanted out.

 

Sorry it got kind of long!!

 

Alley

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It wouldn't have bothered me to have a male nurse.

 

The key to a successful overnight hospital stay is to have another person stay there the entire time. They are just overworked and too many things can go wrong.

 

I hope your back is feeling better!

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I am so sorry, Alley. It's so hard to be around irritable, snippy people, and it must have been even harder in your vulnerable and uncomfortable state. The staff acted unprofessionally. Being pleasant and patient is part of their job.

 

I would have been uncomfortable with the male nurse and asked for a female one. I probably would have also felt badly for inconveniencing them, but, honestly, I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for that accommodation if there are male and female staff available. 

 

Hope you heal up quickly.  :grouphug:

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Well, i can see why this might bother you, and I think there is a need too to be culturally sensitive.

 

However - our culture has pretty much decided definitivly that sex does not matter in these things.  Men have to deal with female nurses almost always, and often female doctors who are becoming more common than male doctors.  It wasn't that long ago, OTOH, that most women had male gynecologists.  And now, you may well have a male nurse, and there are even male midwives and doulas.  In many cases, systems are not set up to accommodate individual preferences about such things - if a clinic has a male midwife they are going to have to fully employ that person, they won't be able to afford to have him idle and they are not going to be able to not hire on the basis of sex, either.

 

I think this is something where most people will find they are simply going to have to adapt to be comfortable.  In much the same way that my dad, who strongly prefers female doctors, would have to make do if he went to a place where that was just not done.

 

 

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You're not alone.

 

When I had my ruptured ectopic, I was very satisfied with my ER and surgery prep that day.  My recovery care sucked, quite frankly. By the time I was allowed/able to be somewhat mobile, I began vomiting and, um, other stuff.  Nobody seemed to care, nobody had time to assist. I think it even took a full day to get a bedside toilet set up, which I then took care of. Nobody had time to help me try to bathe. Every random shift doctor/nurse that needed to check my incision simply reassured me that they were used to unbathed bodies.

 

I was in pain, I was sicker than I'd ever been, I felt disgusting, and I was terrified.  I was there for a week. Home never ever felt so good, and I would have happily gone home to curl up and die had I been presented with the option.

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My mom had similar back surgery just after Christmas. She too was told not to get out of bed by herself; however, after the first day, she had my dad bring up her walker and she went to the bathroom by herself anyway.

As much as we might prefer same gender assistance, that is not always realistic. Think of all the men in similar situations who have had female caregivers.

But, on the other had, you were groggy from surgery, in pain, half awake, and needed to go to the bathroom. It doesn't seem unusual to me that you might be a bit out of sorts yourself.

If there were other instances of the staff being rude, that might be something that needs to be reported.

 

With the limited staffing at many hospitals, especially at night, Such situations are likely to occur frequently. Even if hospitals wanted to hire more staff, in many parts of the country there are not enough people to fill the jobs.

When I had my second child, I had a lovely nurse, unfortunately, her English was poor and heavily accented. I could not understand much of anything she said, but since it was not my first, I knew what to do with the supplies she offered.

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Jan -- Believe me, I came to the same conclusion. I'm bringing a friend next time!

 

Here's the thing: if you call to sign up w/ a new obgyn group, they automatically ask, "Do you want a female or male nurse?" So in some medical areas, we aren't expected to adjust.

 

Re: men. The female nurses at the hosp. told me that they're much more used to being waited on by women. The nurse said it, not me.

 

Alley

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You're not alone.

 

When I had my ruptured ectopic, I was very satisfied with my ER and surgery prep that day.  My recovery care sucked, quite frankly. By the time I was allowed/able to be somewhat mobile, I began vomiting and, um, other stuff.  Nobody seemed to care, nobody had time to assist. I think it even took a full day to get a bedside toilet set up, which I then took care of. Nobody had time to help me try to bathe. Every random shift doctor/nurse that needed to check my incision simply reassured me that they were used to unbathed bodies.

 

I was in pain, I was sicker than I'd ever been, I felt disgusting, and I was terrified.  I was there for a week. Home never ever felt so good, and I would have happily gone home to curl up and die had I been presented with the option.

 

That sounds really awful!  The longest I've been in hospital was 4 days with a c-section, and I was bathes every second day.  It's hard to think of something that makes you feel more human.

 

Many places are understaffed though, and I know it is really hard for the carers to cope.

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Hospitals are just no fun and certainly no place to get rest.  I'm sure you are overtired and in pain.  I hope all that resolves quickly for you.  As far as the experiences you described, I'm not at all surprised that they required you to be accompanied when getting up.  This has been my experience after every surgery I've had (I've had 6).  Anastesia takes a while to get out of your system and they don't want to risk people falling when they are still foggy (and often times you don't even realize your brain is still foggy).  Pain medicine can also interfere with things and really it's just all about keeping you safe.

 

As far as being uncomfortable with a male, well I guess I look at it this way.  There are thousands of male patients and most of them will be lucky if they ever see a male nurse and they manage to deal with going to the bathroom with female nurses so I think it's reasonable that females could deal with a male nurse.  It's a hospital they have seen it all.  But at the same time, it clearly made you uncomfortable and the staff should have been willing to accommodate your desire to have a female help you with that task without giving you a hard time about it.

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My mom had similar back surgery just after Christmas. She too was told not to get out of bed by herself; however, after the first day, she had my dad bring up her walker and she went to the bathroom by herself anyway.

 

 

Thanks City! I couldn't actually do this on my own b/c I had some things on my legs to prevent blood clots that had to be disconnected.

 

Or I would have done what your mom did!!!

 

There was a lot of rudeness. Where do you report stuff like this? The surgeon is a rock star in his field, but I don't want to take up my precious time w/ him talking about the hosp. staff.

 

Two nurses were even rude to a retired physical therapist who had taken some shits to allow younger PTs to take Spring Break off. She could have been over 70 and was very nice and they were rude to her.

 

Alley

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I'm sorry it was crappy, that rots. 

There are so many reasons that our family rule is to never let anyone alone during a hospital stay but this would be in the list.  My mom would die before she let a male nurse help her to the bathroom, it's just how she is.  I wouldn't be comfortable with it either, frankly.

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I cry when I get home from hospital trips also. The after effects of anesthesia can sometimes make me feel just weird. I agree that they are quite often understaffed.

 

I had to deal with male nurses but it just seemed like that was what I had to do, deal with male nurses. They were both very kind, which may not have been the case if I'd have gotten the females. The one was my age and he'd been a nurse for many years. Small talk helps ease the situation.

 

Having surgery of any kind is hard, I hope you recover quickly and just put it all behind you and can stay out of the hospital.

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Jan -- Believe me, I came to the same conclusion. I'm bringing a friend next time!

 

Here's the thing: if you call to sign up w/ a new obgyn group, they automatically ask, "Do you want a female or male nurse?" So in some medical areas, we aren't expected to adjust.

 

Re: men. The female nurses at the hosp. told me that they're much more used to being waited on by women. The nurse said it, not me.

 

Alley

 

Well, yes, they are more used to it.  But I think that is kind of the point - it is something you can get used to.  If we think that sexual equality is a real thing, and men can be as neutral and caring as women in those jobs, would we not expect that would begin to see both men and women in those roles fairly equally, and to simply become used to it over time?

 

I'm not sure I think men and women are as interchangable as our culture says - actually I am sure I don't.  But as far as this goes, I think the tendency is consistant with the direction of disregarding sex in the workplace, and really the tendency to say that women should have a choice is not that consistent.  (I also think that men are capable of being just as professional as women in these particular roles.)

 

If we are going to tell our girls that their sex is irrelevant to their employment, I don't know that we should be saying something different to boys.

 

It's natural to be uncomfortable.  But I am not sure that it is really much different than someone who is uncomfortable with a nurse of a different religion or culture.  Ideally caregivers need to be sensitive and IME they are and don't take such things personally.  But I am not sure we want to go in the direction of making formal accommodation, and as individuals it isn't a bad thing to expand our comfort-zone.

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I hate being alone and vulnerable in hospitals! I had a horrible experience after my 3rd c/s, and DH promised I wouldn't be alone after my 4th, but of course childcare flaked and I was. Both of those hospitals seemed very understaffed and the nurses overworked. I had a decent experience in 1/4 hospitals. Snippy and short seemed to be the default. I only pressed the button when absolutely necessary and heaven forbid I needed to press it again because it had been 45 minutes and no one came. Anyway, your experience isn't unusual and likely has zero bearing on you as a person.

 

Male nurses have a really rough time being accepted. One of our good friends is one, and he had such a horrible time being insulted by patients and families (too stupid to be a doctor, accused of being a pervert and being a nurse just to touch unconscious women--all stuff no one would say to a doctor!) that he went back to school as quickly as possible (nights/weekends on top of working full time and overtime because the hospital was chronically understaffed) way before they'd planned on it to get into administration.

 

Anyway, the nurses probably get it from both ends. Men who don't want women to help and women who don't want men. Then the added layer of race... It's hard to provide care and hard to receive it sometimes. Hope your recovery goes smoothly, and the surgery is successful! :grouphug:

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As a patient, you have the right to request a different doctor or nurse, or so I was told when I was in the hospital delivering my older child.  I had a long labor with several different docs for the duration, and one of them was awful.  My nurse told me she could request someone different -- that a patient didn't have to suffer through a bad doctor/patient relationship.  In my case, I ended up with the head resident, but that was OK with me.

 

I imagine that in some cases there really is no other choice, and then one has to go with the flow.   But often there is another option, and the hospital staff should be accommodating.  

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I'll keep it short: I had back surgery w/ a phenomenal surgeon. The guy is amazing and super kind too.

 

But the hospital care after? Let's just say when I got home and dh got me to bed and left for a few mins., I started crying. It was an awful experience.

 

Here's my question. I wasn't allowed to get out of bed on my own in the hosp. which was fine. I had to call for help, go potty with someone nearby and then hobble back to bed.

 

This was news to me. I hadn't known that I couldn't go on my own. No biggie, I could deal.

 

Anyhoo. . . on the second night I rang the bell at midnight and a young man walked in. Sweet face, very kind, but looked to be about 20. (Could have been anywhere between 24 and 35: I don't know. He looked young.)

 

In my sleepiness I just said no. He pushed a little and said he helps people all the time and again in my sleepiness I said, "I've been through enough over the last two days, I don't need one more thing."

 

The female RN came in clearly annoyed and said, "I was in the room with another patient. Scott is my nurse and he helps me out." She took me to the rest room, but I'd clearly messed up.

 

Later I thought of my good friend from India who I can't get to see a male or female OBGYN. She would have said no to the young man and gotten a bladder infection holding it in all night. (Of course, the nurse would have shown up, but there's no way she would have been okay. If -- by some miracle -- she'd used the man's help, her husband would have been fried the next day.)

 

I was in the hosp. for four days and today is my fifth day and I'm home. Please go easy. I'd love feedback, but I hope we can be civil.

 

Also, I wasn't at all crying from this situation. As much as I tried to be compliant and say thank you over and over, the staff was cranky, snippy, and irritable w/ each other and me. I just wanted out.

 

Sorry it got kind of long!!

 

Alley

You need to tell someone about your experience, so that maybe the next person won't be treated rudely.

 

There is usually a patient representative at a hospital.  Send a letter when you feel better. 

 

You can do whatever you want, so long as you are physically capable.  They can tell you they prefer that you not go alone to the restroom, but no one can stop you if you do. 

 

I wouldn't be overly comfortable with a young man helping me in the restroom either.  That is just not appropriate.  It is different if he is changing dressings or something, but with some surgeries, you literally need help wiping, and not everyone is comfortable with a man in that case. 

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There was a lot of rudeness. Where do you report stuff like this? The surgeon is a rock star in his field, but I don't want to take up my precious time w/ him talking about the hosp. staff.

 

Two nurses were even rude to a retired physical therapist who had taken some shits to allow younger PTs to take Spring Break off. She could have been over 70 and was very nice and they were rude to her.

 

Alley

 

That kind of stuff definitely should be brought up.  I've usually been sent a survey after hospital stays where I could rate things.  I would also poke around the hospital's website and see if they have a place to offer feedback.  Also when you go for a follow up visit, ask the nurse who does the priliminary stuff about where to report a bad experience.  And don't be afraid to mention it to the doctor.  I know you don't want to waste his time but sometimes they have more power in these situations than you realize.  I had a situation where a nurse was inconsiderate and the doctor was in the room.  After he left, we heard him in the hallway with the head nurse complaining about the behavior of the nurse in my room.  I wasn't even that bothered by it but the doctor was clearly upset with the way the nurse handled things.

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You're not alone.

 

When I had my ruptured ectopic, I was very satisfied with my ER and surgery prep that day.  My recovery care sucked, quite frankly. By the time I was allowed/able to be somewhat mobile, I began vomiting and, um, other stuff.  Nobody seemed to care, nobody had time to assist. I think it even took a full day to get a bedside toilet set up, which I then took care of. Nobody had time to help me try to bathe. Every random shift doctor/nurse that needed to check my incision simply reassured me that they were used to unbathed bodies.

 

I was in pain, I was sicker than I'd ever been, I felt disgusting, and I was terrified.  I was there for a week. Home never ever felt so good, and I would have happily gone home to curl up and die had I been presented with the option.

 

This made me tear up again. I cannot imagine how your incision stayed properly clean. That's ludicrous.

 

From the entire human race: I'm so, so sorry.

 

Let's agree not to go to a hosp. without fairly constant help again. I sure won't.

 

Alley

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I hate being alone and vulnerable in hospitals! I had a horrible experience after my 3rd c/s, and DH promised I wouldn't be alone after my 4th, but of course childcare flaked and I was. Both of those hospitals seemed very understaffed and the nurses overworked. I had a decent experience in 1/4 hospitals. Snippy and short seemed to be the default. I only pressed the button when absolutely necessary and heaven forbid I needed to press it again because it had been 45 minutes and no one came. Anyway, your experience isn't unusual and likely has zero bearing on you as a person.

 

Male nurses have a really rough time being accepted. One of our good friends is one, and he had such a horrible time being insulted by patients and families (too stupid to be a doctor, accused of being a pervert and being a nurse just to touch unconscious women--all stuff no one would say to a doctor!) that he went back to school as quickly as possible (nights/weekends on top of working full time and overtime because the hospital was chronically understaffed) way before they'd planned on it to get into administration.

 

Anyway, the nurses probably get it from both ends. Men who don't want women to help and women who don't want men. Then the added layer of race... It's hard to provide care and hard to receive it sometimes. Hope your recovery goes smoothly, and the surgery is successful! :grouphug:

I didn't have children in a hospital, but I learned long ago in my experience with a chronically ill family member that one always needs a witness and an advocate at the hospital, especially if one is not physically capable of doing everything. 

 

I had a male nurse one night in my only hospitalization and he was great, but then all he did was stuff with the drain and dressings.  He was actually the only nurse that let me sleep through the night.  He came at about midnight and not again until 6 or so, bless his heart.  The others just told me that hospitals were "not for sleeping".  I asked how the patient was supposed to get better without sleep and there was no answer to that. 

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Let's agree not to go to a hosp. without fairly constant help again. I sure won't.

 

 

 

Absolutely!

Now that I have older kids, I don't worry nearly as much about it.  At the time, they were about 2, 6, 7, and 10, with no extended family nearby.  Dh spent more time shuffling them than anything else!

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Here's the thing: if you call to sign up w/ a new obgyn group, they automatically ask, "Do you want a female or male nurse?" So in some medical areas, we aren't expected to adjust.

 

 

 

This must vary, I have never been asked that.  

 

Regardless, I'd say it is easier to take preference into account for a routine office appointment, much harder in a hospital. Not that I blame you for asking - you were tired and in pain and it was the middle of the night. 

 

But I also don't blame the nurse for trying to explain that it's part of his job, as long as he was polite. I see females refusing the help of a male nurse as akin to the days when men would refuse the services of a female doctor - the reasons are different, but in both cases the person is being told they can't do their job because of their gender. 

 

The overall rudeness of the staff is a problem and should be reported. Just go to the hospital's web site and you should be able to find forms and phone numbers. Good search terms are ombudsman, grievance, patient satisfaction, complaint. You may want to start writing things down now so you don't forget; it's much more helpful to offer specifics rather than just "the staff was rude." 

 

Hospital stays are awful. I hope you feel better soon. 

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I don't think your experience is outside the bounds of a typical hospital experience.

 

Many hospitals in our area are trying to improve patient experience so writing a letter mentioning the nurses' attitudes would be helpful. I think including the gender of the nurse will be dismissed. If the male assistant was the one scheduled for that night, there wasn't anyone else to assist you. As the RN noted, she was with another patient who may have needed a doctor or pain meds immediately and assisting you to the bathroom (something usually handled by an assistant) took her away from that care.

 

As others have said, I would recommend having someone with you to advocate and assist you. After one delivery, the night nurse walked off with my newborn and no one could find her or my child. It took 45 minutes for the staff to track her down (those alarms they put on babies can be overrided - the nurse had taken my child off the floor). I had sent my DH home to be with the other children. We checked out first thing the next morning.

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Wow, I am sorry they were not kinder to you!

 

I've only been in the hospital once since childhood, and that was one night for an emergency appendectomy last summer.  The nurses (all female) were amazingly kind and patient.  DH did stay with me overnight, but the nurses did all the helping me to the bathroom (mainly so that he could sleep at least a little bit; I just wanted him there for company when I came out of surgery at midnight and in case there was a major problem).  I would have been VERY uncomfortable using the toilet in front of a male nurse.  I don't think you were at all out of line to want the female nurse for something so personal.  Now, if you'd wanted the female nurse to bring you a drink or to check your vitals, I think that might have been out of line, but for toileting?  No.

 

We found that the hospital was excellent -- pleasant, kind, patient, at every level from triage to discharge, and the food guy came around to discuss my lunch choices with me personally.  That was at a small local hospital, but in all fairness, I will say that people in this area are just generally pleasant and kind.  I'm so sorry you did not have a great experience!

 

(Our biggest complaint was that people kept coming in to check my vitals eighty gazillion times, but I guess that's how it goes.  So as we were leaving the following afternoon, we saw a sign on another patient's door: "Patient requests that you do not wake her if she's sleeping."  DH was like, "What the heck?  How come WE couldn't get one of those??"  LOL.)

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I can offer  :grouphug:  and best wishes for recovery.  Glad you're home now!

 

It would never have occurred to me to get upset at the gender of who was doing what given the situation, but it also wouldn't have occurred to me to follow directions and call someone (even with leg thingies... I'd have been figuring out how to work with them). 

 

NOTE:  In no way, shape, manner, or form am I suggesting others copy my natural behavior. :lol:  I'm just sharing thoughts that came to mind.   :coolgleamA:

 

 

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I can sympathize with you being uncomfortable, but I think male nurses are something that we need to become accustomed to. It is unfair to ask for someone of a different gender for a time sensitive need because the hospital only has so many people working. My DD had back surgery and was in the hospital for a week and she had to deal with a male nurse taking her to the bathroom too. Actually, he was helpful because there was no way I could lift DD comfortably and I think most female nurses wouldn't have had equal strength. She wasn't heavy, but the nature of her surgery made every move painful and the male nurse moved her more smoothly than the female ones. 

 

I've never had anyone ask me if I prefer a male or female nurse with my OB and Gyn appointments. 

 

I did have a male lactation consultant offer to help me once. I declined and was really baffled and all WTF?? when he showed up. I had a hard time understanding why he wanted to be a LC, and how he could help if he'd never nursed, had no breasts, couldn't understand what letdown felt like, and had never felt like his breasts were going off like a sprinkler on high! It wasn't my first baby either, so I thought I probably had more experience than him since I'd nursed DS for 18months! I think my feelings about it are unfair and sexist, but it's still my feelings. I think I was extra uncomfortable because it was so unexpected and if I run into the same situation again, I'd be more accepting. 

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Rudeness. You can and should tell the hospital.

 

Male and female nurses. I have never been asked if I prefer male or female medical staff. The assumption I start with regardless of sex is that the person is competent to do their job. I am uncomfortable with anyone helping me to the bathroom, but would go with whatever staff is assigned to me.

 

I know several people who have work as RNs in hospitals. Hospitals are in general way understaffed in nurses. So, requesting someone else means another patient has to be ignored.

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Males in the hospital would be in trouble if they complained about every female nurse that helped them, right?  Being in the hospital and needing help going to the bathroom just sucks.  It wouldn't have occurred to me to complain about a male nurse, even though I may not have been thrilled.  They see it all every day. 

 

My dad died in the ICU almost a year ago.  Possibly the kindest nurse and the one on duty when he died was a male.  They're just doing their job. 

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Hospitals are just no fun and certainly no place to get rest.  I'm sure you are overtired and in pain.  I hope all that resolves quickly for you.  As far as the experiences you described, I'm not at all surprised that they required you to be accompanied when getting up.  This has been my experience after every surgery I've had (I've had 6).  Anastesia takes a while to get out of your system and they don't want to risk people falling when they are still foggy (and often times you don't even realize your brain is still foggy).  Pain medicine can also interfere with things and really it's just all about keeping you safe.

 

As far as being uncomfortable with a male, well I guess I look at it this way.  There are thousands of male patients and most of them will be lucky if they ever see a male nurse and they manage to deal with going to the bathroom with female nurses so I think it's reasonable that females could deal with a male nurse.  It's a hospital they have seen it all.  But at the same time, it clearly made you uncomfortable and the staff should have been willing to accommodate your desire to have a female help you with that task without giving you a hard time about it.

 

Yes, it's true of any procedure with deep anesthesia that you can't get up to go to the bathroom for a time. You may think you're stable, but you're really not. We spend so much time around doctors and hospitals that I've heard multiple stories of people falling during that period because they wouldn't wait for help. A friend of mine's husband got tired of waiting for help one time, and he fell in the bathroom and hit his head in the middle of the night. Thankfully it happened just before the aide went in to check as they do, and she found him. He ended up with a concussion.

 

They should have been more responsive, but our experience is that hospitals and clinics are so short-staffed these days that it is tough to get any special requests in. This is especially true of the larger hospitals that have more complex cases. Having a male nurse wouldn't phase me, but my other family members have so many medical issues that we're use to that. DH actually goes to a female internist.

 

A family member recently had joint replacement, and we actually chose a smaller hospital with a superstar surgeon. I have to say that other than one aide, the care was far more attentive than we've experienced at the large hospital. I stayed with them the first 24 hours, but after that I went out when they were in PT and slept at home because they were mentally engaged and the care was excellent. If the person wasn't engaged and/or if I had any concerns, I would have either stayed there or hired what they call a "professional sitter" for 24/7 care. You can't count on hospitals being completely attentive.

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In your groggy (post-surgery, middle-of-the-night) state your reaction was completely understandable... And the female nurse could have been more understanding about that.

 

But, rationally, in the light of day, having a male care professional (on duty, behaving professionally) able to help all patients to the potty really *should* be acceptable, normal, and unremarkable. Restricting medical care by gender is archaic. We need to let the people do their jobs.

 

I bet there were a lot of males involved in your care, possibly (for medical reasons) seeing/touching body parts that are usually private. This one just took you by surprise. That's ok.

 

The rest of it:

 

General cranky/snippy nurses do not aid recovery as well as those who make patients comfortable. The whole experience is stressful enough for the patient... Nurses and other care staff need to be able to plaster a smile. If there is a way to let someone know your experience (once you are all settled emotionally and healed physically) that would be a kindness to others, I think.

Edited by bolt.
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A friend who was in the hospital for surgery for an ectopic pregnancy had a pregnant nurse assigned to her. She requested a change because her raw emotions over her loss just couldn't handle it at that point, which was accommodated with no snippiness. Sure, the pregnant nurse was just doing her job, but the majority of people in the hospital are dealing with pain, uncertainty, an unusual environment, etc., and if it's possible to accommodate requests based on discomfort or how they're feeling at the time, there's no call for rudeness.

 

Erica in OR

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yeah, with toilets, falling off because you go it alone can be much more undignified than just getting help.

 

Also - sometimes they really want to see you go.  Not all patients are truthful about this if they ask, but they want to know everything is working after some surgeries.

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yeah, with toilets, falling off because you go it alone can be much more undignified than just getting help.

 

Also - sometimes they really want to see you go.  Not all patients are truthful about this if they ask, but they want to know everything is working after some surgeries.

 

And falling after back surgery can be catastrophic! Embarrassment would be the least concern at that point.

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I know the bathroom thing is awkward, but I think it's just the way it is. The rudeness, however should not have to be tolerated.

 

When DH was in the ICU step-down unit for a week, I came in to bathe him daily. He wasn't comfortable having the young, female nurses doing it. Some things he had to deal with, though, when I wasn't there -- bathroom help and such.

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I'm a nurse married to a male nurse. My husband works in ICU and has no problem if a patient is uncomfortable with him performing personal care and will ask a female co-worker to help. It's not a big deal on his floor, but most of his patients are intubated and sedated so it doesn't happen often.

 

I'm sorry the staff was so rude to you. It's one thing to be understaffed and busy but there is no excuse for being rude.

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As a patient, you have the right to request a different doctor or nurse, or so I was told when I was in the hospital delivering my older child. I had a long labor with several different docs for the duration, and one of them was awful. My nurse told me she could request someone different -- that a patient didn't have to suffer through a bad doctor/patient relationship. In my case, I ended up with the head resident, but that was OK with me.

 

I imagine that in some cases there really is no other choice, and then one has to go with the flow. But often there is another option, and the hospital staff should be accommodating.

Yes, you are. Doctors are harder to switch but asking the head nurse for a new assigned nurse is STANDARD, nbd type stuff. I mean a difficult patient is going to run up against limitations, as there are only so many ppl present. But asking once, and saying you prefer a female nurse is NOT being difficult.

 

The problem is that often ppl forget how thoroughly and completely vulnerable msny golks feel in the hospital. Depending on your background and disposition it can be a nearly unbearably fragile time. Of course, staff is there to to administer medical care, not make patients feel at peace with their suuroundings, but it's widely recognized that a very little goes a long way. Which is why every hospitsl ive ever seen in my life has a "just ask" policy for switching assigned nurses. The head nurse on duty would take care of it in the moment (professionally and gracefully), and patient advocates are often available in the daytime to go over anything with you.

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There was a lot of rudeness. Where do you report stuff like this? The surgeon is a rock star in his field, but I don't want to take up my precious time w/ him talking about the hosp. staff.

 

 

 I had a bad experience with an awful nurse when I had to stay overnight after surgery.   It was probably around 10 or 11 at night when I demanded to talk to the doctor, and it's not a prison so they got a doctor on the phone for me...it wasn't my surgeon, but I talked to the dr. on the phone and told her what had happened.   I never saw the bad nurse again.  I don't know if she was finished with her day or if I was reassigned but I got a competent nurse for the rest of the night.    

 

(My dh was home with our kids so I was alone, but I had a little pad of paper and a pen and I was taking names!)

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I am fine with male doctors or nurses in emergency care situations, or in situations where there is no reasonable alternative.  I also, for personal and moral reasons, would not be okay with a male nurse helping me to the bathroom.  I would have put up with snippiness because nurses are often snippy (in my experience) and because I would have caused an inconvenience that this society is not all that prepared to tolerate; however, unless there were some sort of emergency, I would not have gone to the bathroom with the male nurse/assistant.

 

I think people generally tolerate religious expressions of gender rules/traditions/inhibitions better than personal expressions, but they stem from the same source and are, imo, equally valid. 

 

I also have had some bad hospital experiences with regards to recovery care, and I would leave as soon as physically possible.  It's an institution, and institutions are not great at dealing with personal preferences or comfort.

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I am fine with male doctors or nurses in emergency care situations, or in situations where there is no reasonable alternative.  I also, for personal and moral reasons, would not be okay with a male nurse helping me to the bathroom.  I would have put up with snippiness because nurses are often snippy (in my experience) and because I would have caused an inconvenience that this society is not all that prepared to tolerate; however, unless there were some sort of emergency, I would not have gone to the bathroom with the male nurse/assistant.

 

I think people generally tolerate religious expressions of gender rules/traditions/inhibitions better than personal expressions, but they stem from the same source and are, imo, equally valid. 

 

I also have had some bad hospital experiences with regards to recovery care, and I would leave as soon as physically possible.  It's an institution, and institutions are not great at dealing with personal preferences or comfort.

 

Just out of curiosity, do you expect male nurses for men?

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I have no idea if my male relatives would mind a female nurse or caregiver; I suspect not - traditionally and I would argue instinctively, men are used to personal care from women during youth, old age, and infirmity; the reverse is not true.

 

I don't expect a corporation to provide male nurses for men or female nurses for women or whatever - I must have misspoken. I would refuse such care in any situation where it was possible to refuse and request accommodation in any situation where it seemed possible for the company or institution to accommodate - but I would never *expect* a business to accommodate personal requests.

 

When I am pregnant and looking for an ob-gyn, I don't go to practices that require me to see a male doctor or nurse.  When I had no choice in the matter (when I was quite poor and on medicaid, and the only open spots were with the teaching hospital/women's clinic) I had a male ob-gyn (well, a variety of them, as every appt. was a different student) and I dealt with this as I couldn't see any way out of it at the time.  I was delivered by a DO; he was great.  

 

Somehow medical care, for *me*, is somewhat different than personal care (taking someone to a restroom).

 

I'm not making a moral pronouncement about what should or should not be acceptable to others, though.

Edited by ananemone
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I am so sorry you had a bad experience. It is perfectly reasonable to ask for a female nurse to assist you with bathroom needs (and anything else, for that matter). It is not uncommon for patients or their family members to ask for a different nurse for a variety of reasons. The charge nurse simply changes nurse assignments around. Their unwillingness to do this has nothing to do with their staffing levels. They should be staffed appropriately at all times. 

 

In most hospitals, CNA's are the one's to help with bathroom and bathing needs (PICU is different, there the nurses did everything for my son). It is also reasonable to request a female CNA.  

 

As for those of you who are saying we all need to get used to male nurses, to a certain extent I agree. However, patient care and comfort comes first. If a patient wants another nurse, they should get one. It is standard procedure to grant these requests. For the most part, each of us chooses our own doctor. We can choose a male or a female if that is important to us. Choices are not taken away when we are in the hospital. You can ask for a change. In a teaching hospital, you can ask for a different doctor and you can ask for an attending physician (as opposed to an intern or resident) at any time as well. 

 

OP, I encourage you to call the hospital when you feel up to it and talk to a patient advocate. They will document the problem with the nurses  attitudes and the way your request for female assistance was handled. A reputable hospital will follow up with the staff to provide training or evaluate staffing policies. Also, you can mention it to your doctor - this is especially important if the doctor has privileges at more than one hospital because if they hear a lot of complaints from their patients, they will stop using the hospital they are getting complaints about. 

 

 

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This is an interesting conversation.  I feel for anyone who has had a bad experience in the hospital.  I was in one for 3 days a few years ago, and wasn't able to have someone with me at all times, or even during the most vulnerable times.  It worked out OK for me.

 

I also understand discomfort with having a male nurse for personal care. I would be embarrassed.  I had a male tech for a transvaginal ultrasound once - perhaps not as difficult as bathrooming, but still not super comfortable. But as has been said, if we want gender equality in careers, we will have to get used to it. 

 

But I wonder... what would this conversation sound like if a man expressed discomfort at being cared for by a female nurse?  If it would even happen, I don't think the man's concerns would be taken seriously.   It's OK because men are (or should be) used to it?  

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I'm a nurse married to a male nurse. My husband works in ICU and has no problem if a patient is uncomfortable with him performing personal care and will ask a female co-worker to help. It's not a big deal on his floor, but most of his patients are intubated and sedated so it doesn't happen often.

 

I'm sorry the staff was so rude to you. It's one thing to be understaffed and busy but there is no excuse for being rude.

 

When my teen son needed a urinary catheter inserted he was very grateful that a male nurse did it.  I think most health care is "neutral," but there are specific instances when it is simply more comfortable to have someone of the same sex provide care. I'm grateful there are more men getting into the field so that men will have the same option that I have when needed. 

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Just out of curiosity, do you expect male nurses for men?

I would be completely fine with that and I have known men who were very uncomfortable with a female nurse in more private/gender sensitive situations.

 

Sometimes they cannot be accommodated and that's frustrating, but I'm glad there are starting to be more male nurses so that both can be if it makes the patient more comfortable with their care and thus more likely to get care.

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I am so sorry you had a bad experience. It is perfectly reasonable to ask for a female nurse to assist you with bathroom needs (and anything else, for that matter). It is not uncommon for patients or their family members to ask for a different nurse for a variety of reasons. The charge nurse simply changes nurse assignments around. Their unwillingness to do this has nothing to do with their staffing levels. They should be staffed appropriately at all times. 

 

In most hospitals, CNA's are the one's to help with bathroom and bathing needs (PICU is different, there the nurses did everything for my son). It is also reasonable to request a female CNA.  

 

As for those of you who are saying we all need to get used to male nurses, to a certain extent I agree. However, patient care and comfort comes first. If a patient wants another nurse, they should get one. It is standard procedure to grant these requests. For the most part, each of us chooses our own doctor. We can choose a male or a female if that is important to us. Choices are not taken away when we are in the hospital. You can ask for a change. In a teaching hospital, you can ask for a different doctor and you can ask for an attending physician (as opposed to an intern or resident) at any time as well. 

 

OP, I encourage you to call the hospital when you feel up to it and talk to a patient advocate. They will document the problem with the nurses  attitudes and the way your request for female assistance was handled. A reputable hospital will follow up with the staff to provide training or evaluate staffing policies. Also, you can mention it to your doctor - this is especially important if the doctor has privileges at more than one hospital because if they hear a lot of complaints from their patients, they will stop using the hospital they are getting complaints about. 

 

It sounded to me like there were only two people on for the night, the RN and the CNA.  So, requesting a female CNA was probably not possible, or would have involved getting someone from a different unit.

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No, you are not too picky.

 

If you aren't comfortable with a helper/nurse/doctor of another gender or for any reason at all, that is FINE! You have the right to be comfortable. You're not anti-male nurse. You're just anti-male-seeing-me-shit-myself. You'd be fine with him taking your blood pressure or monitoring your surgery, I bet. You are human. The female nurse was a bitch to you. That's wrong.

 

When my kids hit pre-puberty, I switched my son to a male pediatrician and girls to a female. I myself was only comfortable with female ob/gyns through at least my first pregnancy. (Now, I don't care, lol.) Everyone has unique needs and these should be respected. IME, doctors are understanding and respectful of this, and it is NOT unique or terrible of you for you to be uncomfortable with an opposite-sex care giver. I'm sure it is a nuisance for the staff, but that is their damn problem. I think it's terrible that they made you feel uncomfortable with your needs. 

 

My rule is no being in hospital without a loved one (or private hired aide) with you 24/7. It's non negotiable for me. I'd beg, borrow, or charge it if I had to in order to live that rule. 

 

(My dad died in hospital due to hospital errors. He would NOT have died if one of us had been with him. This is unequivocal, legally established fact.)

 

So, when my mom was in hospital over the years, I was there 24/7 until she was discharged. I informed the staff of this, and told them that if they wanted me out, they'd have to physically remove me. I wasn't leaving without physical force. Staff accepts this when you give them no choice. This will *always* be the case with dh and my kids. I will be there. If I am too frail or it is too much for me to be there 24/7, another family member will be there, or I will hire a private duty nurse. Period. 

 

If you'd had a family member with you, they could have helped you to the bathroom (perhaps with the male nurse near by doing his job but not invading your privacy). They could also have gone into the hall, and out of your hearing, advocated for you that you needed a same-gender helper for the bathroom. And they could have taken the heat from the staff, buffering you from anything stressful. Those are the sorts of things I do when I am with someone at the hospital. Make sure they get the water/ice/snack/blankets/pillows they need, etc. Those simple things can make a huge difference in your comfort and recovery. 

 

And, FWIW, you are in charge of you. If you want to get out of bed without help, and you are confident you can, then do it. Their rules can go screw themselves. IMHO.

 

(Note, however, that my dad's death was due to a preventable FALL. . . . So, getting up on your own before they say you are ready is not always a good idea. . . But, he was recovering from a massive stroke, was catheterized, and was supposed to be restrained 24/7 . . . Every case is different. When Mom was in hospital, I helped her to/from the bathroom, etc, all the time.)

 

I'm SO sorry you went through this. (((hugs))) and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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This is an interesting conversation.  I feel for anyone who has had a bad experience in the hospital.  I was in one for 3 days a few years ago, and wasn't able to have someone with me at all times, or even during the most vulnerable times.  It worked out OK for me.

 

I also understand discomfort with having a male nurse for personal care. I would be embarrassed.  I had a male tech for a transvaginal ultrasound once - perhaps not as difficult as bathrooming, but still not super comfortable. But as has been said, if we want gender equality in careers, we will have to get used to it. 

 

But I wonder... what would this conversation sound like if a man expressed discomfort at being cared for by a female nurse?  If it would even happen, I don't think the man's concerns would be taken seriously.   It's OK because men are (or should be) used to it?  

 

I think the man's concerns would be taken seriously. Men may be accustomed to receiving care from female nurses, but that doesn't mean they are comfortable with it. I also don't think we should be required to "get used to" someone of the opposite sex helping us with a very personal matter where touching is involved. Gender equality in careers doesn't mean that people are forced to receive personal care from someone they are uncomfortable with. Patient care is all about the patients, not about the nurses. 

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Jan -- Believe me, I came to the same conclusion. I'm bringing a friend next time!

 

Here's the thing: if you call to sign up w/ a new obgyn group, they automatically ask, "Do you want a female or male nurse?" So in some medical areas, we aren't expected to adjust.

 

Re: men. The female nurses at the hosp. told me that they're much more used to being waited on by women. The nurse said it, not me.

 

Alley

I think you can request a female aide, which costs extra, if it is a religious requirement.

 

I think the nurse should have held in her irritation better, in theory, but I also know many nurses who get quite tired of what is reported to their family as hotel requests. "It's not a hotel. We do what is medically needed. We aren't staffed to take care of people according to preference but medical need."

 

Then if you imagine that this nurse hears patients complaining all day and night about the food, their age, their sex, their race (oh yes), and all the while they are hearing about staffing cuts because the new computer system is more efficient--as if the computer system could help a patient get to the toilet!

 

Well, you can see how they get snappy. It's not okay but it's not personal.

 

And that is what makes it so humiliating and scary. It's not personal and it has nothing to do with you as an individual. I know that must hurt, but except in private or the most well endowed non-profit hospitals worldwide, that is just how it is.

 

(In India, tens of millions get no care at all. The upper classes have servants while the lower castes suffer--so my gain in India, cheap labor, is someone else's loss.)

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