Archive for the ‘Male nurses’ Category


Why Aren’t There More Men in Nursing?

January 8, 2013
Male nurse action figure/ gcfairch, flickr

Male nurse action figure/ gcfairch, flickr

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief

Men have served in nursing roles since at least the third century, when a special order of men was said to have existed to care for plague victims in Alexandria. And various religious orders seem to have had groups of men devoted to nursing tasks during the Middle Ages. More recently, a number of men served as nurses or in nursing roles during the U.S. Civil War—Walt Whitman, who extensively visited wounded soldiers during the Civil War, has sometimes been described as one, though he mostly focused on tasks like writing letters for illiterate soldiers, bringing them special foods and necessary items, and providing companionship. (See our article on Whitman, free until February 10, from our 100th anniversary issue of October, 2000.)

There were schools of nursing for men since the early 1900s. Last year, we published “My Grandfather’s Unpublished Manuscript” (August, 2012; free for all readers until February 10), a wonderful story of how the author (a nurse) found an article describing her grandfather’s experiences during his education and nursing career, which began with graduation from nursing school in 1929.

There were several early articles about male nurses in AJN—the oldest one I found was from March, 1924: “A School of Nursing for Men,” by Kenneth T. Crummer, described the school of nursing for men at the Pennsylvania Hospital and its founding 10 years earlier, in 1914. (Free until February 10, 2013; we recommend clicking through to the PDF version when viewing archival articles.) The final sentence reads, “Who knows but that the nursing text of the future will speak of the nurse, not as ‘she,’ but as ‘he or she?’”

Despite the early presence of men in nursing, today men still represent “fewer than 10% of the RNs licensed since 2005 and fewer than 12% of the students enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs,” according to the authors of “Men in Nursing,” a CE feature article in the January issue of AJN. As the abstract describes, the article

examines the ability of the nursing profession to recruit and retain men in nursing schools and in the nursing workforce. The authors consider such educational barriers as role stress, discrimination, and stereotyping, and explore questions of male touch and the capacity of men to care. In identifying challenges faced by men entering or working in a profession in which women predominate, the authors hope to promote actions on the part of nurse leaders, educators, and researchers that may address issues of sex bias and promote greater sexual diversity within nursing.

There’s also a podcast interview (scroll down to select the “Men in Nursing” podcast) with the authors, offering additional insight into the issue from their personal experiences as well as some suggestions for us to consider as we work alongside our male colleagues. Stop and think: do you act differently or treat male colleagues differently than women colleagues? Are your expectations different because of their sex? Do you think men bring the same abilities for caring to their nursing work as women? Read the article and listen to the podcast—you might find yourself reexamining your thinking.

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AJN’s August Issue: A Metaphorical Prison, a Found Manuscript, a Nurse Carries the Torch, More

July 27, 2012

AJN’s August issue is now available on our Web site. Here’s a selection of what not to miss, including two continuing education (CE) articles, which you can access for free.

Nurses play a crucial role in inpatient programs for anorexia in adolescents, but how do the patients view them? Our Original Research article, “An Inpatient Program for Adolescents with Anorexia Experienced as a Metaphorical Prison,” describes the experience of adolescents in an Australian inpatient behavioral program and how both nurses’ and patients’ perception of the program as a metaphoric prison negatively affected the development of therapeutic relationships between them. This CE article is open access and can earn you 2.5 CE credits.

Health information technology (HIT) is a central aspect of current U.S. government efforts to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and safety of the health care system. But what does this really mean for nurses? Health Information Technology and Nursing,”  the first article in a series of three on HIT and nursing, will examine the federal policies behind efforts to expand the use of this technology. This CE article is open access and can earn you 2.1 CE credits.

Accord­ing to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 348,000 unlicensed as­sistive personnel were employed in the hospital set­ting in 2011. Our Cultivating Quality article, “Continuing Education for Patient Care Technicians: A Unit-Based, RN-Led Initiative,” explores how one teaching hospital in New York City implemented a hospital-wide upgrade of nursing attendants to patient care technicians.  

Tonight is the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, and one nurse helped get the torch to its destination. Debra A. Toney, the immediate past president of the National Black Nurses Association, was selected to carry the Olympic Flame with 22 other inspiring Americans by Coca-Cola, one of the relay’s sponsors, “in recognition of her personal and professional dedication to promoting healthy lifestyles and for empowering civic engagement in communities.” Read more in this month’s Profiles article, “Nurse Lights the Way at London Olympics.”

And if you’re a history buff, check out “My Grandfather’s Unpublished Manuscript,” by Greta Krapohl. After her grandfather’s death, Greta discovered a manuscript that he had written in the late 1960s, but was never published—until now. This manuscript provides the voice of a male nurse at a time when men in nursing were virtually silent.

There is plenty more in this issue, so stop by and have a look. Feel free to tell us what you think on Facebook or our blog.

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Learning to Serve Others: The Key to Happiness

November 10, 2011

With Veterans Day tomorrow, it seems appropriate to highlight the achievements of Charles Kaiman, an artist and a clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric mental health who works with veterans, primarily those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Kaiman recently received the Excellence in Behavioral Health Nursing Award at the 2011 New Mexico Nursing Excellence Awards for his work as a caregiver for veterans at the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Albuquerque.

In this video interview, posted on YouTube by KASA FOX 2, an affiliate of the Fox Broadcasting Company, Kaiman speaks about how he decided to become a nurse, the symptoms of and treatment strategies for PTSD, and what he sees day to day while working with Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans—an experience he calls “one of the most rewarding” of his life.

When asked why he became a nurse, Kaiman said he was first inspired when he was 10 years old, reading a book by Albert Schweitzer that argued no one could be happy unless they learned to serve others. Later, when Kaiman was trying to make ends meet as an artist, his father suggested becoming a nurse because he would “never be out of work.” And his father was right.

Kaiman has now worked as a nurse for 31 years, 26 of those specifically with veterans. When asked about the rewards of helping others and what he would say to those interested in entering the nursing profession, his answer was clear:

“I can’t believe I get paid for this. It’s the greatest thing you can do for the world and for yourself. I completely and absolutely urge everyone who is interested to become a nurse.”

Kaiman’s artwork has been featured in AJN‘s monthly Art of Nursing and twice on AJN’s cover (September 2009 and September 2011). His painting “America the Beautiful” appeared on our September cover in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11; for more about that cover, read our blog post and see On the Cover.—Amy M. Collins, AJN associate editor

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‘The Worst I’ve Ever Seen’: One Persistent Nurse’s Take on Somalian Refugee Situation

September 20, 2011

By Shawn Kennedy, editor-in-chief

Long-term care: Martone at a refugee camp in Uganda back in 2001

Gerry Martone is a nurse who has traveled to the far reaches of the world in his job as director of humanitarian resources at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). We ran a profile of Gerry in 2001 and also a photo essay. He’s also a skilled photographer and we’ve published his photo essays documenting his travels. (See here for one on assessing poverty in Afghanistan and here for one on Sudan refugees; click through to PDF versions for best viewing.)

So when I spoke with Gerry last week, shortly after he came back from a visit to a refugee camp in Kenya, it scared me when he said the situation in East Africa is the worst thing he’s ever seen. The region is plagued by a severe drought (Martone says it’s had no appreciable rain in two years), and while drought is a cyclical phenomenon there,  a struggling central government, lack of health and response systems, and ongoing  conflicts among local clans have worsened the situation, causing widespread food shortages. The global community is responding with aid, but for many, it will be too late.

He visited a UN camp outside the city of Dadaab, Kenya, to which more than 440,000 displaced people—mostly Somalians, who are the hardest hit—have fled. The IRC runs a hospital at the camp. The situation is dire: the UN estimates that, without intervention, 750,000 Somalians face death within four months. And it doesn’t have to be this way—it’s a matter of making potable water and food available—though even with supplies on hand, it’s hard to get them delivered to those in need. Martone said the area is completely lawless and very dangerous—he traveled with six armed guards—and many organizations fear sending their workers.

Martone said if people want to help, they should donate to an aid agency they feel comfortable with—and there are many doing work in the region, including the IRC, Doctors Without Borders, and the UN Refugee Agency, to name a few.

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A Nurse Cartoonist Worth Checking Out

September 17, 2010

Drawing on Experience is a blog run by a student who’s been completing an accelerated BSN program in nursing and who illustrates his education and personal life with remarkably subtle and witty cartoons. Hat tip to a recent Change of Shift blog roundup at Emergiblog for letting us know about his work. It would be wrong to reproduce this artist’s work here without permission, and he might not like it, so I’m just including a really really tiny version of a recent cartoon illustrating his induction into the nursing honor society. It links back to his original Web site, where you can see this and many other cartoons in full, legible size (and of course, upon request, we’ll gladly remove the thumbnail image here!).

Click image to go to artist's site and see larger version

What makes this artist’s work so much fun? The tongue-in-cheek, martial-arts-disciple-and-wise-man narrative? The humility and sense of pleasure in life’s ironies and challenges? The quality of line? The attention to apparently trivial details? The way his mini-narratives play with genre conventions? At any rate, it’s a welcome addition to the nursosphere; I don’t see any contact info on this artist’s blog, but we hope he’ll find time to continue (and consider letting us publish one of his drawings on the blog or in AJN).—JM, senior editor/blog editor

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Clearing the Mind: Charles Kaiman, Nurse and Artist

September 24, 2009
Kaiman's "Self-Portrait," September cover

Kaiman's "Self-Portrait," September cover

Charles Kaiman, a clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric mental health nursing at the New Mexico Veterans Affairs facility in Albuquerque, is also an acclaimed artist. This month we feature his work both on our cover and in Art of Nursing. In On the Cover, Kaiman offers thoughts on his painting technique, which he calls “a form of visual meditation,” and describes how it clears the mind.  If you’re in the New York City area in early October, come check out his show at the Blue Mountain Gallery at 530 West 25 Street in Manhattan, October 6 through 31. For more information, visit the artist’s Web site.

Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

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Subtle Bias Against Nursing Profession In NY Times Piece on Cuban Docs In U.S.?

August 5, 2009

NYTimesCubaScreenshotA few years ago I was sitting around a table with nursing leaders in Washington, D.C., discussing various ways to remedy the pending nursing shortage. One idea brought up was to train foreign physicians ineligible to practice medicine in the U.S. to be nurses. Part of the argument was that, since they were already trained as doctors, they would be able to learn to practice as nurses in a much shorter period of time.

I never agreed with that thinking. As we learn nursing we are learning a lot more than anatomy and physiology. We are learning to connect with our patients, to have compassion, and to work as a highly skilled team member. It is a different way of connecting with the patient than that of the physician. And nurses today have a lot more to learn and apply than ever before because of the increased complexity of health conditions, the increasingly complex health care environment, and the needs of the populations we care for. Read the rest of this entry ?


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