Staff Nurse CCU, NYPresbyterian Weill Cornell
There is a long tradition of nurses in my family. My great-grandmother, as well as my grandmother, both served as nurses in the armed forces. My mother followed in their footsteps and has worked as a nurse for over 30 years. With a background entrenched in nursing that has spanned several generations, it may surprise people to hear that as a child growing up, I never considered becoming a nurse for my career. I grew up the younger of 2 brothers, and my obsessions revolved around sports – soccer, football, lacrosse, baseball, snowboarding. I didn’t really put too much thought into where I would go with my career, but I can assure you nursing was not on my radar.
Once I got to college, I decided to further fuel my sports habits by majoring in kinesiology – the study of movement of the human body. Enrolled in classes like exercise physiology, functional muscle anatomy, and biochemistry, it was here I learned that my love of sports could be transferred to the sciences. But still, no nursing. It wasn’t until 2 years later, at the age of 23, that I ultimately decided to pursue nursing through my work as an EMT. After graduating from NYU College of Nursing in May 2015, I have started work at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital as an RN on the Cardiac Care Unit.
What is your vision for NYC Men in Nursing?
2013 estimates tallied males as 9.6% of the nursing workforce (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). One of the major barriers, something I can speak to at least, is a general lack of exposure to the role that nurses perform in the healthcare process. I consider myself very lucky to have never been admitted to the hospital. That said, without witnessing the daily routine of a nurse, I had no idea what nurses did. I think exposure, especially to our school-age youth, is a major force that can influence how boys and young men especially view nursing. About 6 months ago, NYC Men in Nursing member Darren Panicali organized an event where members from our chapter hosted an informational Q&A with a local high school in Manhattan. I believe that it is this type of exposure, with an emphasis on skills like stethoscope auscultation, spiking IV bags, preparing injections, etc. that could really capture our male youth population’s interest. Much like a firefighter, seeing the skills, instruments, and the ability to use your hands to perform your job can be an excellent source of exposure for our younger male youth. I hope that NYC Men in Nursing can continue to partner with schools in the community in an effort to educate and expose to the possibility of nursing.
Another area that I would like to continue to participate in the community is in our volunteer work, particularly with our minority populations. Currently, healthcare quality indicators decrease amongst African American, Hispanic, and LGBT populations in virtually all objectively measurable indicators including mortality, morbidity, obesity, and mental health (CDC, 2013). This was a theme that was touched on in just about every class at nursing school. I do not want to over-simplify this hugely complex issue, but to think that the quality of healthcare a person receives in this country is largely based on the amount of melanin in your skin, or who you are sexually attracted to, that is disheartening. As nurses, we serve as the front-line delivery of healthcare and I believe that it is our responsibility to give back to our most vulnerable populations in an effort to improve at least some of these disparities. Free healthcare screenings and general volunteer work that improves the quality of life for these populations are great ways to for our chapter to continue to interact with the community.
As I’ve gotten to know some of the members of the Men in Nursing group, it’s been great to connect with other people who are working in the field and hear about their experiences in healthcare. It has really illustrated to me just how vast nursing really is. Whether it’s grad school, public health, policy, business, informatics, teaching, travel, or at the bedside, nurses can be found in many different settings. It is important for me to remain open to as much as possible in order to see where I fit in and how I can contribute in the most positive manner. Just 6 weeks in to my nursing career, there is still much to learn.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). CDC Health Disparities and
Inequalities Report. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/CHDIReport.html
U.S. Census Bureau. (2013). Men in Nursing Occupations. Retrieved from: