Staff Nurse, New York Presbyterian Columbia University Hospital, Cardio-thoracic ICU
February 2016 Featured Member
I was brought up in a big family with core values that were created around giving to others and helping those who couldn’t help themselves. My family’s definition of success has always been “the number of people you can bless and affect daily.” I was brought up to believe that money and possession didn’t make one rich but it was the happiness you find in others and yourself. I believe these values are the very reason why I chose the professions I have thus far.
Before turning to Nursing, I wore a different uniform. I spent 4 years on active duty with the United States Marine Corps Special Operations Forces and 3 years as a military contractor attached to the DIA. It was in the military those instilled core values grew in me and I knew in order to help those around me on a personal level I would have to go back to school. Science has always been a strong suit than any other subject so I gravitated towards biology and medicine. After volunteering at New York Presbyterian Columbia Medical Center, I met two individuals Steve and Joe.
I first ran into Steve when a code was called on the floor I was volunteering on. Intrigued like any fresh face resident/nurse would be, I ran towards the room. Steve, a white male in his forties wasn’t too far behind me; he ran in and started calling out commands, people followed. I was blown away by the confidence this man exuded amidst the chaos and the respect he commanded as the team worked together to save this man. After 3 cycles of CPR, when a pulse and blood pressure was finally established, Steve gave direction and started to be on his way. I knew I had to talk to him so I caught up and fired away. What I found out was more astonishing. Steve told me his was an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in charge of MICU A and CODEs for the hospitals. I had no idea what was an ACNP was, but I was impressed.
The second man in the room was Joe, a black man in his thirties. Joe was maybe 5 to 8 minutes behind Steve and made a quiet inclusion and yelled, “Does this patient have DNI, no good” and intubated in what seemed seconds. Joe stuck around longer so we had time to talk. My conversation with him resonated with me and impacted my decision to go into the nursing profession. He was a Certified Registered Nurse Aesthesis and primarily served anesthesia in the OR but did some on call emergency for the hospital. Leaving the hospital that day, I knew that the only profession I would be happy doing was nursing. I applied to NYU nursing that summer and started in the fall.
Upon completion of the program, I only had one goal in mind and it was to be the best Cardiac ICU nurse I could be and help save as many lives as possible. Today, after almost two years, I am continuously striving towards that goal. I would eventually like to go back to school and further my education.
When I first joined the NYC MIN group, it was in its infancy. There were a dozen of us around a table brainstorming with only three to four voting members with by laws written. I was just as excited then as I am today with 300+ members making our chapter the biggest in the country in just two short years. This chapter is a great platform for not only men but nurses to find a voice at times when they find themselves frustrated, vulnerable and emotionally disconnected. Nurses understand a lot; through medical and social sciences, we are some of the most well-rounded individuals. Often times it may be difficult for others to relate to us and other nurses provide an understanding empathetic environment.
I see this chapter bridging the generational gap as well as providing educational and networking opportunity for nurses within New York City.
Male nurses are a growing segment in the profession. However, often times it is still seen as a gender specific job and very misunderstood by society. As nurses carve out deeper roles and define these roles within the health care system, it will be our duty to educate our communities. I believe it is that education that will enlist more males, as they will recognize the opportunities this career can provide them. I often get called doctor or asked why I didn’t choose to go to medical school and the truth is, as much as I respect our medical counterpart, their job/role was never my calling. I see doctors and nurses as I see a coin. It has two sides but they represent the same value. Although there is equal value in the nature of the profession, I didn’t choose my profession at random as I would flip a coin. I chose it because I value its traditions, honor, and commitment bestowed upon an individual with the title “Registered Nurse”.