Travel Nurse, Telemetry & PCU | American Mobile Healthcare
Currently on assignment at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California
A proud native New Yorker
A Lawyer Turned Nurse
Nursing most definitely was not my first-choice career, although early on I knew that I wanted to go into the medical profession. I had originally set out to become a physician, but life had a funny way of taking me on a detour before nursing became a reality. I started college as biology major and somehow graduated with a degree in psychology and eyes set on law school. Indeed, that is what I ended up doing, ultimately practicing law in New York City for almost 10 years thereafter. I can honestly say in hindsight that deep down I was not happy working as a lawyer, despite the fact that I enjoyed many successful moments in that career. Nothing against the legal profession, as I studied and networked with many excellent attorneys. However, there was always something missing for me … something nagging within me to explore beyond my chosen direction.
2001 was probably a very poignant year for me in terms of nursing, as it was the earliest that I can remember considering an alternative career. My mother died of renal failure and sepsis quite unexpectedly that summer, and I found myself frustrated for not having enough medical knowledge to really understand what happened with her and whether I could have recognized any early warning signs. The ICU nurses, however, comforted me and assured me that they and I did everything possible to bring her comfort till the final hours. Two months later, September 11th happened and I found myself eagerly watching the rescue efforts on TV, feeling helpless and wanting to be in there aiding the victims. Several years later, I relocated to Florida seeking respite from harsh memories and the fast pace of the city, hoping the move would somehow enlighten me as to what I should really be doing with my life.
Transformed While Transporting
Fast forward three years later, out of sheer boredom, I chose to start volunteering 4 hours a week at the local hospital for a change of pace. My role was simple: transport discharged patients from their room or their outpatient surgery bed to the exit via wheelchair per hospital policy. I soon found out that I was a natural in relating to patients and that I really enjoyed it. This was also the closest I had ever worked with nurses and I keenly admired the care that they provided to the patients I wheeled about. Some of these nurses were men, and it eventually clicked: HEY, this is what I should be doing! I wanted to be a nurse! It was like the final piece of the puzzle was soldered into place, the elusive feeling of finally solving a mystery. I eventually opted to return to New York to attend an accelerated BSN program and start my new career there.
The Next Five Years
I am currently a travel nurse, and as one I have been fortunate to work at some of the most distinguished medical centers in the country (including NewYork-Presbyterian at Columbia and Yale-New Haven Hospital). Having only learned one way of nursing at my first institution, I frequently wondered whether things were done differently elsewhere. My primary goal in travel nursing is to experience best practices at all of these hospitals and proactively use this information to enhance patient outcomes with my future employers (not to mention enjoying the other perks of travel nursing). Being in California right now has also afforded me the chance to see first-hand how positively state-mandated nurse/patient ratios benefit patient care. At the same time, through my various assignments I have been able to refine my skill sets towards critical care and this has motivated me to go in a different direction with my career.
I intend to conclude my travels by the fall of 2016 and return to New York to specialize in emergency department nursing, with a goal at eventual board certification. A master’s degree in nursing is something I am considering once I have re-established myself in New York, and with that I would be eager to pursue managerial opportunities. Given my legal experience, I have also toyed with the idea of getting involved in risk management or nursing education. It goes without saying that within this timeframe I would like to resume my active involvement with the NYC Men in Nursing. I am very excited to get back to my hometown and continue to make a difference!
My Vision for the NYC Men in Nursing Group
Continuing education is a vital aspect of nursing. The NYC Men in Nursing group clearly strives to place high emphasis on keeping the nursing community abreast of the latest developments in evidence-based practice, and providing information on new specialty areas for nurses interested in expanding their skills. Because of its importance, this kind of education needs to continue. I believe the group should also continue to be a catalyst for increased awareness on critical men’s health issues, particularly ones where men have traditionally felt reluctant to candidly address with their health care providers such as prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS. I would definitely like to see the group more involved with fostering an interest in nursing among impressionable young men. When I was in high school, going into nursing as a male was never presented to me as an option. Most all career options promoted were more “macho” oriented such as doctor, lawyer, fireman, policeman or engineer. Times have changed. Nursing is a very viable career option for young men, and members of the NYC Men in Nursing are in an ideal position to serve as mentors and role models.
The Legacy of Male Nurses in the Nursing Profession
Male nurses are slowly shedding their underestimated role within the health profession. I am happy to live in an era in which barriers continue to be broken and our acceptance in nursing is increasingly embraced. As an experienced RN, I am equally proud to be an active part of that shift. As in any organization, diversity and equality are important components of a well-oiled machine, and representation of both genders in this profession enhances patient care overall, just as it does to have both male and female physicians and any other health care provider.
The increasing number of men entering the profession will also help to alleviate the nursing shortage. I am glad to see that male nurses are becoming more than just a set of muscles to help lift patients. Men are increasingly diversifying the profession, and their unique perspectives should be a welcome addition to nursing as a whole.