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Refused to help with a circ today, rather long vent... - Page 2

post #21 of 30

There is a Facebook group called "Nurses Against the Circumcision of Minors" where you can post your stories, learn, and seek support.



@Minkajane: We need more nurses and CNMs like you, who already get that circumcision is wrong! Yes, you may run up against some situations in your training or future workplace. But you will play an incredibly important role in the shift MUST take place in the health professions over this. You can educate your fellow students, professors, and colleagues.You can speak with authority to the parents you work with. And you can lead by example in your professional life by refusing to participate, with your solid knowledge base in science and ethics. There are many more of us out there to collaborate with, and who can be an emotional safety net for you, if the going gets rough. Together, with more nurses like you, we will get there! Bravo for the start of your nursing training journey!

post #22 of 30

Hi!  I'm a NICU nurse and I don't assist with circ's either.  It's nothing official but I haven't done one in 3 years. 

My job is (or should be) to take care of sick infants, not take time away from my sick patients and their families to do a non-therapeutic procedure.


We had a baby on supplemental oxygen who was circ'ed the other day.  Makes me ill.  That baby was nowhere near healthy enough for elective genital surgery.


Anyway, I'm very glad to "meet" other anti circ RN's. Fortunately,  I work with many in my unit, including my asst. manager.

post #23 of 30

@Bug McGee... you are lucky to have allies in your workplace. There are a few other nurses in my unit who didn't circumcise their sons, and others who I have educated about the lack of necessity of circumcision, but no body is in the same place I am of refusing to be part of it as a matter of conscience. I think people just don't want to stick their necks out - easier to just go along and not rock the boat. Nurses are trained basically that this is something we do as health professionals, not really necessary but could have potential benefits and no real down sides, and its the parents right to make the choice [Note: I'm NOT saying this is true, but it is more or less what health professionals are taught]. It takes a lot of self-education, and a lot of inner strength to come to the place of standing up to such a system of ethically unreflective complacency.

post #24 of 30

I just made an account here because I saw this thread.  First I would like to say thank you for standing up for what you know is right.  I have 4 boys: 1 circumcised and 3 intact.  With my first child, I was barely 18 years old and that's no excuse for not doing my own research and making a decision rather than just blindly saying okay.  I wanted to share the story very briefly, nearly 22 years ago.  When the nurse came in to talk to me about circumcising my son, she told me it was necessary that he would have all kinds of problems if I didn't agree to it.  I asked, Will it hurt?  She said, No, he'll be fine.  I asked, Would he cry?  She said, No, they usually don't cry.  I asked, Could I be there with him?  She said, Absolutely not.  It's not allowed.  I said, Can you at least tell me when you're doing it so I can pray during the procedure?  She said yes.  The next morning, another nurse brought him to me and he was asleep but sucking hard on his pacifier and acting like when a child cries hard trying to catch his breath.  I didn't know what or why.  I asked when they would be doing the circumcision and she told me it was already done.  No one even came to tell me they were doing it as I asked.  I was so sad, obviously he had pain.


Another quick story.  A few months ago I sat with a mom in labor.  I am not a doula, but I tend to end up in that roll several times a year.  Anyway, this mom was at a hospital I wasn't familiar with, I drove 2 hours to get there.  When I got there, the nurse had the mom talked into the epidural, told her that she needed it and it would be so much easier to deal with labor.  Which part of that is true, but this mom wanted a natural childbirth without the epidural.  So I talked to her about what she said she wanted previously, and how she would feel after her baby was born.  I talked to her about how well she was coping and progressing.  We hadn't talked long, the mom was riding the fence about having the epidural or not.  Then it was shift change, and she had a new nurse.  The new nurse was very matter of fact, told her she could totally do this without the epidural if she wanted to.  She reassurred her that she was doing well and progressing well the same as I had.  At this point, two of us said the same thing and she decided against the epidural.


The point I'm trying to make is that as nurses interacting with parents, can you tell your own story?  Can you say you didn't circumcise your own boys.  Here are the benefits that helped us make the decision not to circumcise?  You don't even have to mention it from a medical stand point, just talking about real life.  I can think of so many times in my life that one person said something that caused me to think and research and make my own decision, this too being one of them.  We all get caught up in the norms around us, they become so second nature we don't even think to question it.  What, or why, or anything else.  We do it without thinking, just like brushing out teeth.  No second thought.  I always said that I wanted to be one to dare to judge the standards or what is right and wrong, because who made those standards anyway.  But to do that, first I have to be aware.  I'm thankful to the lady who first mentioned that circumcision wasn't necessary to me.  I never would have given it a thought otherwise.


Keep standing up, I'm thankful for you and the changes you're making in our world. 


post #25 of 30
Originally Posted by minkajane View Post

Reading this scares me to death. I'm starting nursing school this fall with the ultimate goal of becoming a CNM. This would necessitate working in L&D or postpartum before grad school. I am terrified that this is going to be an issue. I absolutely will not have anything to do with circumcision - I will not set up, assist in any way (except in emergencies like hemorrhage), or find someone to assist in my place. I figured it would be a good idea to tell them up front when I get hired, but I worry I won't get a job if I do. I also don't want to be in the place of having to assist in childhood circumcisions during my surgery rotation. Since I know that 99.9% of them are unnecessary or iatrogenic, I don't feel I could assist in those as well.

Yep - I start clinicals in the fall, and my OB/peds rotation will be in two more semesters. I WILL NOT participate in circumcision. I just won't. I want to be an RN, but I know that I won't work in L&D, OB, or neonatal care because I don't want to have any part of circumcision. Thinking about assisting in such a barbaric "procedure" makes me ill, angry, and so, so sad. I'm praying that no one asks me to participate while I'm in school. That has the potential of getting really ugly. 


post #26 of 30

Wow, I am in awe of your moral courage!  Having nurses that are educated in this barbaric practice, may someday at least help along more education of the negative factors of cutting baby boys.  In my opinion, you both did the absolute right thing.  I think that circumcision (and every bit of information about it) should be routinely given to new parents of baby boys.  In child birth education classes, they should show a video to parents so they will know just what kind of barbaric surgery they would be putting their baby through.  Why not?  They show birth videos , why not educate them on the facts of circumcision? It's only right to fully inform parents to be.  I think that if they show a video of a circumcision, NO ONE in their right mind would allow that to be done to their precious baby boy!

post #27 of 30

Nice work standing up to the Pedi. I am also an RN and have been treated with disrespect by physicians. You have set an example for your co-workers and perhaps given them the courage to not take any crap off other physicians. Health care is a team effort. More docs need to get on board with this mentality. I am curious, was he an older doc? I find the younger ones are much more team oriented and not so quick to jump down your throat. Either way, keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #28 of 30
Originally Posted by mare54 View Post

  In child birth education classes, they should show a video to parents so they will know just what kind of barbaric surgery they would be putting their baby through.  Why not?  They show birth videos , why not educate them on the facts of circumcision? It's only right to fully inform parents to be.  I think that if they show a video of a circumcision, NO ONE in their right mind would allow that to be done to their precious baby boy!

Many years ago I was chatting to an expectant Mom about prenatal classes while we were waiting for our cars in a tire shop. I asked her what the current sentiment was with regard to circumcision. She replied that they had been shown a video of a circ being performed, and "there is no way we are doing that to our baby".  I was so happy to hear that, and I am quite sure that a graphic video would put off all but the hardest of people.


post #29 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hey all! Thanks for commenting on my post...I haven't been back on MDC in a while, obviously, so I'm just reading all your responses. love.gif

Just wanted to share with you RN students that I was never asked to assist with or observe a circ in a clinical rotation in OB or peds.  I did assist with several as a student in my role as a nurse's aide in a hospital OB unit.  Assisting with those few circs are what made me dig into this procedure and decide against doing it to my own kids, or helping with it. 


To answer Mommyshome's question, I don't share my personal details with clients unless they ask me a direct personal question. I am always careful (with many issues other than just circ) to say "this is what I decided was best for me" or "some people have found that..." or something along those lines. I think it's a fine line to talk about personal opinion when caring for folks in a medical setting; there's always a chance it could be used in a manner in which it was not intended, kwim? If they ask for evidence-based rationale for a procedure/intervention, that's a different story.  Hope that makes sense.

There's been no further fall out related to the incident.  The other nurses on the floor (all 12 of them) seem to have been informed by someone (I'm assuming my manager) that I don't do circs.  I haven't been asked to explain, or challenged in any way.  I haven't encountered the pedi again since the incident, but plan to continue with professional behavior and respond proactively to any unprofessional behavior aimed toward me.  He is an older pedi, to answer the question asked above, I believe in his early 60s and reportedly close to retirement.  A friend who uses him as her son's pedi revealed to me that he told her he didn't like doing circs.  Perhaps that's where a lot of this stems from? I don't know.  


At any rate, thanks again for all the support and encouragement.  thumb.gif

post #30 of 30

That's great!  Where I live, only the hippie or new agey classes inform about the specifics of circumcision, and that's a shame.  I am going to find a way to inform parents in one way or another!

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