Alexander Salinas, BSN, RN

NYC Men in Nursing – April Featured Member

Staff Nurse Sister of Charity Hospital

University at Buffalo Class of 2017

Penn State University MSN Student

Nursing: Where the opportunity is endless for our patients

My name is Alexander Salinas and I was born and raised in the farmlands of the Philippines. As I entered my teenage years, I moved to a completely polar opposite environment, New York City. I developed a strong interest in the science field and I loved the idea of volunteering/giving back so when choosing a career, nursing intrigued me the most. Funny enough, being a nurse is known to be a very common profession chosen among Filipinos, and here I am, living out the stereotype of a Filipino American nurse.

However, as the years went on, I realized that nursing was so much more than a pre-destined stereotype. When I chose nursing as my major, my mother actually discouraged the idea of it especially as a male. She believed that nursing was a major for females only but as she saw me persevere and develop a passion through my studies and experiences, she is more proud of me than I would’ve imagined! My mom’s experience as a physician in Philippines was actually what inspired me the most. In her practices, it was common for her patients to give livestock such as chickens or food in exchange for her services. The idea of patient-centered care focusing on holism is the ultimate reason why I’m a nurse today.

The time I confidently knew that I wanted to become a nurse was during my experience of being a therapeutic aide at a nursing home. While I was applying to nursing school, I re-visited the nursing home and ran into one of my former patients who had dementia. Ironically, she remembered who I was and was so thrilled to see me that she got up with all of her might just to hug me in gratitude for my services to her. From that moment, I knew that I made a difference in even just one person’s life and I understood what it meant to know the patient and not the disease. I also realized what it meant to address medical concerns holistically when workings with patient’s diseases.

 

Throughout college, I was always enthusiastic about participating in extracurricular nursing activities which lead me to become the President of the Multicultural Nursing Student Association. As college came to an end and the real-world began, what a better way to stay active as an RN by joining Men in Nursing NYC.

 

Currently I work as a medical surgical oncology and hospice nurse at a very complex unit of Head, Neck Thoracic, GYN, Urology, GI patients. I like that in my unit, it can have a diversity of a population and diseases itself. I recently joined my hospital’s peer review committee and currently the only male nurse in the committee. We review sentinel events and decide how the healthcare team could have prevented a specific case from happening again. As a student preceptor also mentoring a male nurse, I try to show that even as a male we can still be compassionate and still hold to our true values.  Engaging more men in nursing really stems from advocating for it even in high school. My vision for men MIN is to see male nurses speaking in NYC High schools, bringing the idea that nursing is also a male profession.

Five years from now I hope to become a nurse educator that focuses on holistic care and global health. Nursing has brought me to countries like Guatemala and Haiti to provide medical missions. Our profession can advance healthcare on a global basis. I hope to volunteer and utilize my talents and inspire healthcare professionals to use their talents outside the clinical setting.

Besides nursing, I currently practice baptiste power yoga consistently for its mindfulness benefits. As I will be training as a yoga teacher soon, I hope I can bring this practice one day and even provide a yoga class for nurse’s de-stressing events in NYC. I try to transfer the knowledge I learn in my yoga mat to my workplace. It’s easy for us to sometimes react and explode in very stressful situations of codes, rapid responses along with the multiple multi-tasking assignments a nurse has to handle. If we stay grounded and present during our time with our patients, we create a more meaningful connections to our profession.

My advice for new graduates like me and nursing students. When you feel like burnout is coming, step up.  Being a nurse means being a student for life. Precepting a student brings a new sense of knowledge to me or joining committees. The opportunity of nursing is endless and I cannot wait what this profession brings me.

Brian Hornby, BSN, RN, CEN

Senior Staff Nurse

Emergency Department

NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing Class 2014

I am an outgoing, hands on person who likes to be challenged. Nursing appealed to me as a rewarding career that would allow me to pursue my passions outside of work while maintaining a healthy work life balance. Since graduating from college I have worked a variety of different jobs; building theater sets, residential contracting, and adventure travel, all while looking for a career. I was inspired to become a nurse by creative friends who had gone back to school for nursing. Increasing numbers of men are joining the nursing workforce to enjoy the rewards and benefits of a career in health care. New York City Men in Nursing (NYC MIN) is working to strengthen the nursing profession by bringing these men together and inspiring others.

While working in California I got involved with the Five Ton Crane art collective building large scale sculptures for Burning Man. Most of the members of this group are professional artists building this passion project on the side. At the same time a few of my friends had returned to school to become nurses. I realized that I had the opportunity to work many fun and interesting jobs, but I did not have a career. Having taken Wilderness First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician courses, I had a budding interest in prehospital care and a desire work hands on with people. The challenge of transitioning from an arts career to a nursing career rooted in science appealed to me. I went to community college in California and was accepted to NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. While I was in nursing school I had the opportunity to work as a Student Nurse Extern at NYU Langone Medical Center in the Emergency Department, where I was later offered a full time position.

What is most rewarding about nursing is the impact that we have on patients every day. One patient I had seemed like an uncomplicated urinary retention patient going to a medical floor. After careful assessment of the patient, I found he had an altered mental status, an infection source and vital signs trending in a troubling direction. I performed a bedside test, which indicated possible systemic infection. I presented all of this information to the medical team, who changed his course of treatment to a higher level of care. My experience working as a team with doctors, physician assistants, nurses and technicians in the emergency department is the best part of nursing. One of the biggest challenges to nursing are the recent changes in healthcare specifically an emphasis on metrics including patient satisfaction (not patient care) and throughput requiring specific documentation and prioritization requirements. These changes are relatively new, and it is uncertain whether they improve patient outcomes. They are tied to the payments the hospital gets from the government, so there is pressure to meet them regardless of their effect on patients. The healthcare system is in desperate need of change to control costs and improve outcomes, so these challenges may be stepping stones to improving healthcare for everyone in the future.

One opportunity for the NYC MIN may be reaching out to students and the public through social media such as instagram, facebook, snapchat and career days in high schools. This would give men of all ages an example of some of the opportunities they could have as a nurse. This would hopefully inspire men of different ages to consider nursing as a career. The nurses who participate in this outreach would have the benefits that come with sharing their knowledge and experience with others. Nurses who are feeling burnt out by their jobs may find it rewarding to mentor nurses. Nurses who share their hobbies outside of work could show that nursing allows you to have a rewarding work life balance, if you chose. I believe that part of staying in nursing for the long term is having a passion outside of work, that is a positive outlet for stress.

I have been working as an Emergency Department nurse for two years now, recently becoming a Certified Emergency Nurse. It has been an interesting and rewarding journey to get here. I am able to pursue my passions of collaborating with friends to build large art projects for Burning Man, Maker Faire and other events. While working as a nurse I am continuously learning and trying to improve my practice. I am looking forward to working with NYC MIN in the future to encourage more men to join the nursing profession and keep men engaged as caregivers improving patient outcomes throughout New York.

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