A Nurse’s Experience

“I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing 6 years ago. First semester clinicals were in a nursing home where I saw all sorts of things that would make others’ stomachs queasy. Second semester clinicals were on the Medical/Surgical floor of a hospital where people are being treated for everything under the sun. Things that smelled, things that oozed, things that would make the regular person faint of heart. Decubitus ulcers that were inches deep, things coming out of or put into all orifices of the body. Nothing made me queasy.nurses-experience

“Third semester clinicals were in Obstetrics – my chosen field of practice. I was so excited!! At this point in my life, like many others, circumcision was what you did, it was no big deal and I had no clue how it actually happened. My OB professor showed us a video of a circ in class and the baby’s tortured cries made me so sad. But it wasn’t until I was in the hospital for a clinical day that I truly grasped the torture that baby boys go through with this unnecessary surgery.”

“I witnessed the mutilation of 2 newborn baby boys that day. I watched them get strapped to the Circumstraint board, draped, pacifiers and sugar water shoved in their mouth and betadine spread on their most intimate parts. One of the boys’ fathers stayed to watch the procedure and while holding the pacifier in his mouth kept saying to his son “It’s OK, be a man!” ”

“I stood there, watching, horrified unable to move. This is the one and ONLY time in my nursing school career and one and ONLY time in all of my years as a nurse that I felt nauseous, lightheaded, and almost had to sit down, sweat beaded on my forehead and pupils dilated.”

“Then I had to watch it again. There is a sound that the cutting of foreskin with scissors makes (the plastibell method was used for both procedures I saw) this sound is seared into my brain and mind and will be for the rest of my life, and when I take myself back to that moment I can hear it and I get nauseous and sweaty all over again. The baby’s cries are also etched into my memory and I will never be able to watch another circumcision video or be in a doctors office when one is being performed, and I will never be able to work at a hospital that performs them because I could not mentally take it.”

“One thing about the circumcision debate that I have always had trouble with and still cannot rectify in my mind is how a provider and a nurse/assistant can watch these surgeries repeatedly and continue doing them. I understand that once you’ve done/seen a few you can become numb to the procedure. But I don’t think I could ever become numb to watching and hearing that… Ever.”

“I feel very fortunate that the hospital I work at as a Labor & Delivery RN does not provide circumcisions in hospital. They are only done out of hospital at pediatricians offices around a week old. I do everything I can to educate my patients who are having baby boys the fact that circumcision is unnecessary, cosmetic as well as very painful to their perfect baby boy. I can tell some parents shut down their brains when I start talking about it however, I have saved a few babies and at least planted seeds in other parents minds.”

“Being an RN in this field of work is on the front lines of the circumcision battle and it’s a tough gig to be exposed to people making this irrevocable decision for their son. I only hope that my small part in spreading the word will assist with male genital mutilation becoming illegal someday.”

“All 3 of my boys are intact and I’m so happy I learned about circumcision in nursing school.”

A mom & nurse

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