NYC Men in Nursing – April Featured Member
Staff Nurse Sister of Charity Hospital
University at Buffalo Class of 2017
Penn State University MSN Student
Nursing: Where the opportunity is endless for our patients
My name is Alexander Salinas and I was born and raised in the farmlands of the Philippines. As I entered my teenage years, I moved to a completely polar opposite environment, New York City. I developed a strong interest in the science field and I loved the idea of volunteering/giving back so when choosing a career, nursing intrigued me the most. Funny enough, being a nurse is known to be a very common profession chosen among Filipinos, and here I am, living out the stereotype of a Filipino American nurse.
However, as the years went on, I realized that nursing was so much more than a pre-destined stereotype. When I chose nursing as my major, my mother actually discouraged the idea of it especially as a male. She believed that nursing was a major for females only but as she saw me persevere and develop a passion through my studies and experiences, she is more proud of me than I would’ve imagined! My mom’s experience as a physician in Philippines was actually what inspired me the most. In her practices, it was common for her patients to give livestock such as chickens or food in exchange for her services. The idea of patient-centered care focusing on holism is the ultimate reason why I’m a nurse today.
The time I confidently knew that I wanted to become a nurse was during my experience of being a therapeutic aide at a nursing home. While I was applying to nursing school, I re-visited the nursing home and ran into one of my former patients who had dementia. Ironically, she remembered who I was and was so thrilled to see me that she got up with all of her might just to hug me in gratitude for my services to her. From that moment, I knew that I made a difference in even just one person’s life and I understood what it meant to know the patient and not the disease. I also realized what it meant to address medical concerns holistically when workings with patient’s diseases.
Throughout college, I was always enthusiastic about participating in extracurricular nursing activities which lead me to become the President of the Multicultural Nursing Student Association. As college came to an end and the real-world began, what a better way to stay active as an RN by joining Men in Nursing NYC.
Currently I work as a medical surgical oncology and hospice nurse at a very complex unit of Head, Neck Thoracic, GYN, Urology, GI patients. I like that in my unit, it can have a diversity of a population and diseases itself. I recently joined my hospital’s peer review committee and currently the only male nurse in the committee. We review sentinel events and decide how the healthcare team could have prevented a specific case from happening again. As a student preceptor also mentoring a male nurse, I try to show that even as a male we can still be compassionate and still hold to our true values. Engaging more men in nursing really stems from advocating for it even in high school. My vision for men MIN is to see male nurses speaking in NYC High schools, bringing the idea that nursing is also a male profession.
Five years from now I hope to become a nurse educator that focuses on holistic care and global health. Nursing has brought me to countries like Guatemala and Haiti to provide medical missions. Our profession can advance healthcare on a global basis. I hope to volunteer and utilize my talents and inspire healthcare professionals to use their talents outside the clinical setting.
Besides nursing, I currently practice baptiste power yoga consistently for its mindfulness benefits. As I will be training as a yoga teacher soon, I hope I can bring this practice one day and even provide a yoga class for nurse’s de-stressing events in NYC. I try to transfer the knowledge I learn in my yoga mat to my workplace. It’s easy for us to sometimes react and explode in very stressful situations of codes, rapid responses along with the multiple multi-tasking assignments a nurse has to handle. If we stay grounded and present during our time with our patients, we create a more meaningful connections to our profession.
My advice for new graduates like me and nursing students. When you feel like burnout is coming, step up. Being a nurse means being a student for life. Precepting a student brings a new sense of knowledge to me or joining committees. The opportunity of nursing is endless and I cannot wait what this profession brings me.