Confessions of a Male Nurse

I am currently a junior in college studying to become a nurse. I live in New York. Also, I am a man.

The Dark Days

Recently, I had a conversation with one of the Directors at my internship. She used to be a hospital nurse in the 1980s and we struck up a conversation about how the world has changed. It was a much different time 30 years ago, when people were still traditional and afraid of what they did not know. The following is derived from our conversation:

As many of you know, the 1980s was heavily filled with the AIDS epidemic. There were no drug cocktails, no known symptoms, people were just dropping like flies. HIV did not even exist because of the severity of the disease. Once you were diagnosed, you automatically had full blown AIDS, and were likely to die in the next month. The reason it was so disastrous is because many gay men were becoming infected. Now, in the past, men were not openly gay as they are today. Even though there is still a stigma around it, at that time in history, no one was supposed to know you were gay. It was something you didn’t talk about, and kept to yourself. Many men who were secretly gay were also married simply to avoid any suspicion. So now you might be able to understand why it was so bad.

These men would have secret sexual encounters with other men, and then come back to their wives, and have intercourse with them. This was an insane chain of transmission and spread quickly throughout urban areas. Many hospitals did not even want to take these cases. The men that were infected were destined to die. In the hospitals, they would lay suffering, while their partners were denied entrance to see them simply because they weren’t family. The families that they did have, didn’t even want to visit them because they had discovered their homosexuality. Imagine that, you are suffering, miserable, knowing that you will die, and the people who are supposed to love you regardless are disgusted by your behavior and lifestyle choices. The same people who loved you through tough situations such as criminal activities, accidental pregnancies, unemployment, now avoid you on your deathbed when you need them most.

But luckily, there were the nurses. The nurses were the frontline of compassion for the victims of this nameless disease. They had to deny entrance to the partners who cared due to policy, but would often whisper to them about the back entrance, and proceeded to sneak them in to see the one they cared for. Just to make their last days more bearable. Not only do nurses provide care, but they have the power to make or break your painful experiences. We need them. Support and salute them.

-Male Nurse  

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one murse to another. keep strong brother. There are many long days ahead of you, but keep going! Find a good nurse mentor on your clinical floor, and when you get their patients as an assignment… Shadow the nurse the whole day if possible. Help Him/Her out as though you’re their personal Nursing Assistant. Go in with him/her to all their patients when possible. Of course make sure you are not annoying them, but get to know them. Most good mentors can help you truly *understand* what you’re learning in class

Work, Work, Work, What You Working With?

Right now, I’m on summer break. The summer before Nursing school officially starts. Of course, I want to lay around and go to beach as often as possible, but I guess it’s a good time to get my foot in the door in the Nursing industry. Mostly because you never know who you others know so you automatically become a friend of a friend of a friend. Confused yet? Basically, as big as the healthcare and nursing industry is, somehow everybody knows everybody. While knowing everybody, that everybody can get you a job with somebody down the line.

And after this jumbled thought process, I applied for an internship! Well not only one, but a few, but I only got one. One of the ones I applied to was Doctors Without Borders simply because I respect what they do, and how cool would it be to travel around the world? Yeah, except I didn’t get that one probably because they preferred that you spoke French since they are a French company. My French is totally unreliable unless is concerns females. No don’t worry, that’s not on my resume…yet.

The internship I did get was one with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, or VNSNY (Check them out on http://www.vnsny.org/ ). I’m actually typing this up in the office. While I don’t perform any home visits, I get to work with contracts and operations and really understand the behind the scenes functions that go into this giant program. This VNSNY is actually the largest nursing organization in theUnited States, with over 16,000 employees. Not a bad place to know everyone. It’s great to see this side of it because doing clinical work is one thing, but actually setting it up and negotiating contracts and bridging the patients with the nurses is a huge part of it. I made some friends, even though they’re a little older. OK like generations ahead of me but I learn a lot. Plus, I get to work in an office inManhattan and dress up like I’m a Boss, word to Meek Mill. 

Now that I got my foot in the door, it’s time to kick it down.

-Male Nurse

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Been Way Too Long (Let’s Celebrate)

It’s been hectic for the past year, hence the lack of posts. Got some major updates for all of you!

Firstly, I kicked the ass of all my pre-reqs and was able to get accepted into the Nursing program at my college. Aww yeah. It was tough and a lot of people that I started out with didn’t make the cut, but we tried to keep the spirits alive. One of my closest friends, she was actually initially rejected, but then accepted the day before orientation, probably because someone else didn’t get at least a C in their pre-reqs, tight life. Just goes to show that there’s always a larger force at work, not saying it’s God, but maybe there’s like a Nurse Angel who watches over all of us, making sure the Nurses are quality. Makes sense right? Better nurses= more lives saved. Sorry for that religious tangent.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to make it and hey out of the 150 who made the cut, there’s probably about 15 other males. It’s crazy because they range across all ages and yet we all kind of clicked at orientation. Well it was kind of awkward, simply because we were thrown into a lecture hall to try on different uniforms to make sure we ordered the right sizes. Walking around in our underwear and sharing pants, shirts, and scrubs, it felt like we were in a high school locker room just laughing, Too bad the girls didn’t get a peek. Even the older gentleman with grey hair, about 40 years old, was really chill. I guess we’ll end up forming some kind of brotherhood, or shall we say a Nursing Illuminati.

Speaking of uniforms, they still haven’t arrived. We ordered them in June, and where the hell are they 2 months later? That reminds me, I still gotta get the Nursing shoes, all white everything LOL. Why are they so bright? I really wish Nike had a medical division. Nike Medical. They would sell all their kicks in all white leather. I can imagine the commercial now:

Nurse: (Referring to the patient on the hospital bed) Doctor should we give him a shot of insulin? He doesn’t require it but it might help him recover.

Doctor: Just Do It.

Nurse: Are you sure, Doctor?

Doctor: Just Do It.

Fade Out…. NIKE MEDICAL… JUST DO IT……                                                               

-Male Nurse

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Nursing Career Statement

My interest in nursing started at a young age. When I was a baby, my mother was enrolled in nursing school, and would often take me to class with her. I grew up watching her work various jobs in the nursing field, eventually settling to work in home visiting. As a nurse, she was gentle and sensitive, but also diligent in her work ethic, a characteristic which fueled my ambition to become a nurse.  It was not only her patients that she cared for, but also for family and friends, a quality that I have internalized over the years.

My tendency to care for others comes naturally, and becomes apparent to everyone I have a chance to interact with. I know that nursing is the perfect career in which I can successfully care for patients on a personal and professional level.

I have watched my mother and other nurses around her work hard over the past fifteen years. I have heard the complaints, frustrations, and stresses that they experience.  Nurses work hard, sometimes even the hardest, and many times do not get the credit they deserve. I know that I can improve the conditions and experience of nursing.After finishing a nursing undergraduate program, I plan to gain experience working in both hospital and home visiting nursing. During this time, I hope to enter a graduate nursing program and use my background in entrepreneurship to bring innovation to the nursing field. Gaining education and experience as a nurse is a crucial aspect of this plan.

As a recognized young entrepreneur, I see opportunities for improvement in the nursing industry, such as more local and culturally considerate home visiting services, and even more foreign language training programs for hospital nurses. Being surrounded by my mother, co-workers, and fellow nursing students, I have learned that there are people are ready to improve care practices. They just need someone to bring them all together. I am that someone.  

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Colombian Chemist

During my freshman year, I was taking Chemistry lab, first it was introduction, then organic for the second semester. I got lucky and happened to have the same professor for both semesters. I was one of the few guys in the class so me and him and this bro-thing going in. I wouldn’t exactly call it a bromance, but it was like broflirting where we understood each other in a room full of women. Not saying being around all those beautiful girls was bad, just sometimes you needed a bro.

As classes went on, we generally got to know each other. I became curious as to where he was from because of his heavy Latin accent. I asked and he told me Colombia, and that he was here in New York studying for his doctorate. I have never visited South America, and began asking him about all of the general stereotypes that I had heard about Colombia, or as he or any native speaker calls it, Ca-loom-bia.

Me: Are the women there nice?
Him: Yeah of course.

Me: Do they have nice asses?
Him: Sometimes.

Me: Do you miss the warm weather?
Him: Of course.

Me: Is it really dangerous in Colombia, with all the drugs and violence?
Him: Depends.

Me: Since you know chemistry, do know how to make drugs?
Him: Maybe.

Me: Like cocaine? What about meth?
Him: Oh meth is easy.

Me: So you could use all the equipment here in lab to make meth?
Him: Yeah.

Me: Lets start a drug business. You make it and I help you distribute and we split profit. Make some money on the side.
Him: I don’t do that.

-Male Nurse

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