Men Share What It’s Like to Become a Nurse
Employment in the healthcare sector is booming, and more men are entering into healthcare professions than ever before. In fact, a recent NYU study found that the number of men in the nursing workforce is steadily increasing, growing nearly 5% between 2005 and 2015.
While it might have been unusual several years ago for men to work in certain healthcare jobs, there’s now a push for more gender diversity in healthcare staff. This is especially true in nursing, as hospitals struggle to find enough qualified nursing staff to meet the growing demand for their healthcare services.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for registered nurses (RNs) will increase by as much 15 percent by 2026, adding more than 400,000 new jobs.
We sat down with two of our recent BSN graduates, Jonathan Cabrera and Brandon Shaver, to talk about why they chose a career in nursing.
Q: Why did you choose a career in nursing?
Cabrera: I’ve always known that I wanted to help people. As I got older, I wanted to do something in medicine. I considered surgery, massage therapy and chiropractic medicine, but none of those careers felt like the right path for me. I knew that nursing would allow me to make a difference in the medical field and increase my opportunities for employment.
Shaver: After being in the military for four years, I wanted a complete change of pace. I found myself watching shows like Scrubs, House, Grey’s Anatomy, and ER, thinking to myself, “I could totally do that.” I was working as a dental assistant at the time, and one day a coworker mentioned that I should look into becoming a registered nurse. I did some research and immediately knew that was the route I should take.
Q: Despite the increasing demand for nurses, it’s still a profession that is largely dominated by women. Do you feel that this is changing? Why should more men consider nursing as a career option?
Cabrera: It's not so much about whether you’re a girl or a guy. It’s about what you want to do and how you want to help others. I think a diverse classroom of students brought a good balance to my studies and my clinical experiences. We each brought a unique set of experiences to the table. As a nurse, I find that having a mix of different perspectives helps us find well-rounded solutions and allows us to do our jobs better.
Shaver: It’s not unusual to meet a man in the nursing field. Doctors used to be only men and nurses used to be only women, but we know that those stigmas don’t matter anymore. Nursing is a great line of work to get into, no matter your gender. There are so many options for growth, and if you’re like me and you get bored easily, there are always different specialties to explore and a variety of ways to advance your career.
Q: What did you enjoy the most about your nursing classes/clinical?
Cabrera: I completed a clinical rotation at a local community clinic, and I loved seeing first-hand how much we were able to help people. I enjoyed being a part of the staff and providing medical assistance for people that would otherwise be underserved due to their financial circumstances.
Shaver: My first clinical rotation at a nursing home made me reevaluate if I really wanted to be a nurse. It can be challenging at first, but as the semesters move along and you start making connections with your classmates, you realize that you’re all struggling together. You learn to make the best of the challenging moments and rely on each other. When I think back about all of my classes and clinical experiences, I remember all the people I shared those stressful times with and all the memories we had together.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about the nursing profession?
Cabrera: I’m glad to see that the field is changing. I think I finally found where I’m supposed to be, and I’m grateful not only for my experience at Herzing but for the opportunity to make a real difference in others’ lives.
Shaver: I like knowing that all my hard work has finally allowed me to have a great job, in the specialty I wanted to work in, in a location I wanted to live, working the hours I’d like to work, making the money I think I deserve. Not everyone can say that, but the nursing profession has so many options and opportunities for everyone.
Q: What words of wisdom do you have for those considering a career in nursing?
Cabrera: It doesn’t feel like it’s a woman's job or a woman's world. We're all working together to help care for people in need.
Shaver: Make the leap sooner rather than later. Rely on your friends and family to help you get through the tough moments. Your classmates will get you through the hard times in school. Work with them, not against them, and you will be successful.
Thinking about a career change to nursing? Like Cabrera and Shaver, more men are realizing that nursing isn’t only a viable career option, it’s a job they’d like to do. Whether you’re just beginning your nursing career or looking to advance, Herzing University offers a variety of degree pathways to help you achieve your goals.
Learn more about our nursing programs and get started on your own journey today!