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Being a male RN in a female-dominated field can be rewarding

I knew early on I wanted to help people so nursing was an obvious career choice for me. For others, that decision to choose nursing as a career may not come as easily, especially for many men. That's because nursing has been, and continues to be, a female-dominated career.

The Best Careers in Nursing for Males
Male Nurse

Having spoken with some of the male nurses I work with at Gundersen Lutheran, I hear many of the same themes as to why they entered nursing, such as the desire to help others, the challenges and diversity a nursing career offers, and educational advancement opportunities.

Paul Hoch, RN, Intensive Care Unit, stated, "Nursing allows me to help others while providing job security, mobility, access to cutting-edge technology, competitive earnings and a schedule that fits my life.

Nursing touches everyone from prenatal care, to hospice care and everyone in between. As a nurse, there's no place I can't go. The whole gender issue in nursing has never bothered me. We're all here for the same purpose and all working towards the same goal."

Mike Peeso, RN, Cardiotesting Lab, began his career back in 1969 as an orderly before becoming a corpsman in the Air Force and ultimately an RN. "We were allowed a lot of latitude in treating and caring for patients," said Peeso. "It started the fire that still burns inside me today. The rewards are many, but knowing I make a difference in someone's life is what drives me to give the best care possible."

Jim Padesky, RN, Inpatient Psychiatry, came to nursing in a similar way. He said of the challenges for the nursing profession, "We need to work to achieve a competitive salaries, portray a professional image and continue with quality education for new and experienced nurses."

How do we, as nurses, elevate our image and change the stereotypes that exist? Charles Thimmesch, RN, 3 Center, is relatively new to nursing. "Being a male RN in a female-dominated field can be rewarding,” he said. “My RN colleagues considered my hire to their unit as a positive step to a more diverse and progressive unit."

Nursing has seen a slow but steady rise in the number of male nurses entering the profession. Recent recruitment efforts have been aimed at attracting more men. Even so, men still represent only 5.4 percent of the country's nurses according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Male nurses comprise almost 7 percent of the Gundersen Lutheran workforce.

"The work is challenging, but worth it," stated Seth Barna, RN, Intensive Care Unit. "We work closely with patients, families and doctors to make a difference in someone's life."

Nursing can be a fulfilling career with many opportunities. Accepting the challenge can make the difference in all the lives we have the opportunity to share in. Changing how society views nurses, both male and female, should be a goal of all nurses, making nursing an easy career choice for everyone.

The Best Careers in Nursing for Males
Male Nurse
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