A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

Modern Feminism



I know I’m gonna get some heat from my female co-workers on this one… but here goes.

My wife is also a nurse. So we frequently talk about work on the way home or over dinner. The other day wife was complaining about the female surgeon she was working with. My wife said, although Dr. X said that she was a female from New York, she was wining that her peers had assumed that simply because she was a female, she was expected to spend more time “getting to know” her patients. She was suppose to “be more personal” with her patients than her male counterparts. Female doctors are expected to be more approachable and more empathetic. My wife was in disagreement saying that all doctors are expected to have a approachable bed side manner. Some physicians are good doctors but have a terrible bed side manner. Some are terrible doctors but have a great personal and empathic bed side manner. It is common knowledge that no matter how good a doctor you might be, the bed side manner that you show to your patient is directly related to how many law suits you acquire. I personally have know terrible dangerous doctors but they skate free of lawsuits because they have a very nice and approachable bed side manner. So being a woman is irrelevant in this instant in the doctor world.

On the other hand, being a nurse is different. I had a tough day with a female anesthesiologist. I’ve worked with this resident before, but it’s been a while. She’s a feminist and she doesn’t mind telling me so. She would berate me for not recycling my trash when opening for the next case. And in the next breath she would be upset that the room turnover was taking more than 15 minutes. Like I said, it’s been a while since we’ve worked together. Much to my surprise, she was suddenly 8 months pregnant. I’m a natural born citizen of Alabama. If there is anything about the “gentleman thing” I know it. On the other hand, if you’re a feminist and you throw it in my face, I’ll let you sink. Today, she was determined to nickel and dime me to death… can you get this, can you hand me that, can you plug this in for me… it’s too low, that’s too high… blah, blah. I finally said, “if you’re so helpless, please call your anesthesia tech, I have my own job to do!” She was incensed, but didn’t bother me any more.

At the end of the case, the PACU nurse, looked at me and said, “shame on you. You shouldn’t let that poor pregnant girl push that stretcher, you should help her.”

OK, here’s my dilemma… Why is there a double standard? If you’re a feminist most of the time, but when you get pregnant, you want all the services of a damsel in distress complete with all of the gentlemanly courtesy and such. You want people to make over you, “oh, you’re so cute,” or “oh, do you know what you’re gonna have?” Yet another woman is exempt from such extra duties cast about by this “poor pregnant” woman. Women rant non stop for “equality” in the work place, and “equal pay for equal work.” I will admit that I believe in inequity between the sexes. If a woman can pull her weight and do the same work, then by all means, she should do get the same pay. But that is rarely the case. A lot of women want the same pay for a lot less work. Businesses are getting heat for this, because by pure economics, an employer will only pay for what they get in productive work. I get paid more than most women of equal seniority. The reason, I come to work. Most women take time off for maternity, or to care for the sick kids. I don’t. Most women will take a “family medical leave” for their family. When they do, their seniority accrual stops. Mine doesn’t. Suddenly, I have more seniority, and more pay. That’s the simple method of how most guys get better pay then women.

Back to my wife’s story with her wining doctor… Dr. X is probably complaining more because she’s just now realizing that a “medical practice” is just like what I explained with the time accrual and pay, except without all the labor laws. A medical practice is sort of like a business. If you are there every day and work at it, you will not only have a larger customer base, but you will have a larger group of very loyal customers. If you are available only on a sporadic schedule, you will have no loyal customers and even your regular customers will head off to another physician who takes his or her practice more seriously.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just get frustrated as being a guy who’s suppose to acknowledge that a feminist declaring her independence is still suppose to be supported and helped along. Maybe I just had this discussion with my sister who has given the same complaints about her ailing medical practice. I explain it the same way and she got just as mad.


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