Senior Staff Nurse
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.