BY: John Campbell, BSN, BSED, RN
Nearly four years into my career, I still occasionally find myself lost in wonder at my good fortune. You see, I am not from around here, both literally and figuratively. I am from suburban Oklahoma by way of the rivers of the Great Northwest, and I could not have predicted a career in nursing. Yet every day at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, I am surrounded by talented, motivated individuals who collectively form the most respected profession in the nation. How did I get here?
When I look back on my long road to a career in nursing, I must admit that being a male plays a large part in finding my eventual destination. Only after studying architecture, working as a wilderness guide, coaching athletics, and riding ambulances as an EMT did I realize nursing was a viable option for a young man. As I first evaluated nursing as a career, I was pleasantly surprised to see nearly all of my interests reflected back at me.
After meeting many other male nurses who share this sense of good fortune despite never considering the career early in life, I came to a two-fold realization. First, these guys are a special group of men. Like our female colleagues, they are personable, intelligent, driven, and compassionate. Yet they set out on a non-traditional path, one that almost no young man hears about as a youth. Second, they are truly rare, generally speaking. Men make up only 9.6% of RN’s nationwide. While many enjoy fulfilling, successful careers as equal participants with female coworkers, I noticed they nevertheless lack a formal organizational structure as a minority group.
During my orientation after joining NewYork-Presbyterian, a conversation on this topic with our Chief Nursing Officer Wilhelmina Manzano, MA, RN, NEA-BC, led to a meeting with Reynaldo Rivera, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Director of Professional Nursing Practice Innovations at NYP. We joined forces with my good friend Fidel Lim, DNP, RN, a professor at NYU and a new member of NYP’s nursing education staff, to embark on a new mission: to start an organization in order to provide a social, professional, and charitable home for the men in nursing of New York City.
Thus, in the fall of last year, we founded the New York City Chapter of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing, a national organization. Now known as NYC Men in Nursing, we offer monthly meetings at prominent local hospitals. Each meeting features a distinguished guest lecturer, followed by a meeting of the board members. We also offer a mentorship program, connecting veteran nurses with students and new graduates.
We gather for events as small as our networking happy hours, and for events as large as our educational conferences. Our spring conference was a landmark success, and we look forward to our Fall Conference on Innovations in Nursing on October 25, 2014, hosted by our very own NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Our meetings, events, and membership are open to all interested nurses.
In providing an organizational framework for this group of nurses, we hope to lend one more voice to the national dialogue regarding the nursing profession, while giving something back to the profession which has given so much to us.
For more information, find NYC Men in Nursing online at: https://www.facebook.com/nycchapter
For NYC Chapter AAMN Membership Form: http://tinyurl.com/MembershipNewYorkCityAAMN
Notes: The above article was previously published in NewYork-Presbyterian’s “InReport,” A Newsletter of the Department of Nursing for July 2014 Vol. 10 Issue. 2. Campbell’s original article can be found on page 4 of the newsletter here.
John Campbell has been a Registered Nurse for four years since graduating from New York University’s Accelerated Nursing Program in May of 2010. He currently works in NewYork-Presbyterian/ Weill Cornell’s Cardiothoracic ICU, where he has been for a year. His other three years as a nurse were spent in NewYork-Presbyterian/ Weill Cornell’s Emergency Department, Bellevue Hospital’s Emergency Department, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Urgent Care Center (emergency oncology). He is originally from Oklahoma, where he studied architecture at the University of Oklahoma and coached ultimate frisbee. After leaving Oklahoma, John found his inspiration for becoming a nurse in the Pacific Northwest while working as a whitewater raft guide and EMT, studying wilderness medicine, and teaching CPR/First Aid for the Red Cross.