BSN, RN - NY, RN - Taiwan
NYU Master Student Advanced Practice Nursing Adult Primary Care Track
Happy Nurses Week to dear fellow nurses and future nurses!
What is nursing to me
Some people think nursing is a job of changing diapers, passing medication, and checking blood pressure for patients. If you do too you are not alone. It was not until I was in nursing school learning anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, physical assessment, and advanced nursing knowledge of medical, surgical, obstetrics, gynecology, psychiatric and even nursing management did I realize that nursing as a profession has its own charm. We nurses not only focus on diseases and treatment but we focus even more on how people cope with diseases, also known as the human responses. We listen, we empathize, we observe, we discover, we analyze, we conclude, we discuss, we coordinate, we implement, we monitor, and last but not least, we bring our smile every day to every single patient. It is a privilege and opportunity patients give us to help them walk through their peaks and valleys.
From the beginning
I graduated in 2009, and in the same year I was enlisted into the Taiwan army. Because of having a specialty in nursing and a pass on the officer qualifying exam, I was entitled to the rank of second lieutenant nursing officer and was assigned to serve in troops and in the armed forces hospital. In addition to sick soldiers, we also accept civilians in the neighborhood in a very low rate. Those who cannot afford the high cost of medical treatment can get treatment in our army hospital. I was really shocked that so many patients told me they choose to ignore their health problems because they really do not have the extra money to spend on their diseases, not even to stay healthy. After my honorable discharge from the army, I was determined to provide affordable health care service in the future.
The only male nurse on stage
In the years between 2012 and 2014, I worked as an RN in a surgical ICU. As an RN, I provided professional nursing care to my patients. I was scheduled to receive a two-year clinical training (PGY, post-graduate-year training) from the National Health Department of Taiwan. It took me one year to excel in diseases and medication, lab and image results, medical instruments like ECMO, CRRT, and hemodialysis therapy. I also found my learning experience helpful to the new nurses, so I volunteered to train newly graduated nurses in my second year of PGY training. Due to my quality of learning, teaching and leadership among nurses, I was assigned to be night shift leader to help more nurses and patients. In May 2013, I was chosen Best Nurse of the Year. Among those chosen, I was the only male nurse on the stage.
Volunteering and improvising
I like to explore and utilize every possible resource. In the summer of 2013 and 2014, I went to a rural elementary school in northern India as a volunteer nurse. Our team transformed a storage room into school health center and trained a school bus driver with better English ability to be the manager of the health center. After investigating the school, we found that it was a boarding school relying on donations. Because of financial issues, four housemothers took care of more than two hundred boarding students aged four to fourteen. Therefore, we developed a health management manual of common illnesses those kids frequently experienced, for the health manager in the center. In addition, we created a health duty system. Each room in the hostel consists of older kids and younger kids. We delegated oldest kid to be the health manager of the room. They would help notify housemothers if some students in the room became sick or injured. Then the housemother and the health center manager would make further management decisions, such as cleaning the wounds or sending sick students to a hospital. The health duty system compensates the shortage of school staffing. The skill of improving systems despite limited resources seems to be in every nurse’s blood.
Now and future
As an ICU nurse, I have seen a lot of patients suffering in serious agony and coping with irreversible diseases, however most diseases can be prevented through health promotion strategies. I am now a master nursing student focusing on primary care and the holistic nursing. Advanced practice nursing allows us to expand our role into diagnosis and prescription. It gives nurse practitioners more flexible options to manage overall health and wellness for our patients. With a previous skillset of observation, intervention, evaluation and education from the registered nurse’s role, and the new skillset of diagnosing diseases and prescribing treatments from advance practice nursing’s role, we are able to prevent or slow down the progress of diseases. And I cannot wait to start my nurse practitioners life to help more people proudly through nursing approaches. I hope you do too, regardless as a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner.
Men as legacy in nursing
It is a diversity issue. Including men, women, LGBTQIA and other groups into consideration in health care services is crucial. Male nurses in nursing profession bring new point of view to inspect current medical and nursing system in different angle. Alone with all other valuable ideas from various population, we can deliver more comprehensive care to our patients. Currently, male nurse population accounts for 10% of total nursing career in the U.S., and the percentage is still growing over time. While the U.S. is experiencing a national wide nursing shortage, it is a great chance to encourage more people in diverse population to join nursing career, and that including male population.
NYC Men in Nursing
The New York City chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing is a group of male nurses, future nurses, and men and women working in diverse professional areas who are interested in general nursing and men’s health topics. We invite elites in various specialties to discuss nursing issues. Although men’s health topics are not novel, they seem to be underemphasized in the health care system compared to women’s health. Men are prone to suffer from heart diseases, cancers, strokes, lung diseases, diabetes and certain psychiatric diseases. While introducing innovative gender consideration, we shall provide more tailor-made and gender-sensitive health care services to males and other populations. In addition to professional nursing knowledge, we are a family meeting up monthly to provide support and advice to each other. Every month we have new members joining us and we anticipate seeing more people from the same and different backgrounds joining us. It is time for you to start your nursing career journey. Please join us in this challenging yet fulfilling and satisfying profession.