NYC Men in Nursing – February 2018 Featured Member
Staff Nurse – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
My name is Felipe and I am a Registered Nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). I graduated from Hunter College in 2016 with my BSN and work as a Registered Nurse at MSKCC. During the summer break between junior and senior year of college, I was able to be part of the Clinical Assistant Program (nursing externship) in MSKCC’s PICU. It was an amazing experience and propelled me into pursing a critical care specialty. During my senior year, I was kept on-board at MSKCC as a nursing assistant on the inpatient pediatric floor. Upon graduating and passing my boards, I was hired as a Registered Nurse on the inpatient pediatric floor. After a year of working there, I was able to transfer into the PICU where I work now.
I was born in Chile and moved with my family to the United States in 2002 when I was 8 years old. Growing up, my brothers and I were able to quickly learn English in school. My parents picked up the language a little slower, so they often relied on my brothers and me to translate for them. We were often their advocates at various settings including doctor visits. This sparked my interest in the health care field. When the time came in high school to decide what I wanted to study, knowing my background, my English teacher suggested looking into the nursing profession. I immediately was amazed at all the work nurses did for their patients and families. Being able to advocate and care for people during one of their most vulnerable times is something few people experience in their lives. It was then that I realized I wanted to become a nurse.
Having the ability to help our patients heal is what I cherish the most about nursing. The privilege we have as health care workers to be there for patients and advocate for them when they can’t, is an incredibly rewarding experience. In the pediatric world, as many of us know, we are often not only taking care of sick little ones, but also their family. Kids and their parents often place their trust on you and rely on you to advocate for them when they often can’t. This empowering feeling is something I wouldn’t trade for in the world. Not only does it make me enjoy my career, but as also pushes me to continue learning more to provide the best and safest care for my patients. If I had to pick one thing I like the least about nursing is probably all the charting and double documenting we have to do!! (But that’s a story for another time).
In order to engage more men to join the nursing work force it is important to educate them early on what nursing really is about. The stereotypical image of cleaning and feeding our patients is often the first thing people think of when you say you work as a nurse. However, IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! We are the eyes and ears of our patients. We continuously assess and intervene (and then continue to assess and intervene!). And no matter the extent of the nursing job (whether it is only cleaning or feeding patients or performing a complex bed side procedure), it important to always know nurse are appreciated by the patient, family, and co-workers.