DiversityNursing Blog

Adrian Espinosa is part of a still extremely small but growing trend in nursing. He’s a man.

Posted by Wilson Nunnari

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 @ 10:46 AM

Adrian Espinosa is part of a still extremely small but growing trend in nursing. He’s a man.

Espinosa, now a student at the University of San Francisco School of Nursing, said he quickly became aware that he is a man in a field that continues to be dominated by women.

“From the first day I started nursing school last year, as one of seven males in a class of 77, I realized that I would have to find my fit in a predominately female profession,” Espinosa said. His goal is to become a nurse practitioner “to fulfill a huge gap in primary care for under-represented populations.”

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 In a 2012 essay written for the American Assembly for Men in Nursing Scholarship, Espinosa said his route to his chosen career was anything but direct.

“My journey into nursing wasn’t immediate, but my path was illuminated when I began working in community public health,” Espinosa wrote. “Watching nurses and nurse practitioners work with diverse populations inspired me to pursue the nursing culture in the hope of providing accessible care for marginalized communities.

 The nursing community knows it needs more people like Espinosa in its ranks and it is working hard to increasing nurse diversity.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in 2008, there were 3,063,163 licensed registered nurses in the United States. Only 6.6% of those were men and 16.8% were non-Caucasian. Despite efforts from nursing schools across the nation to recruit and retain more men and minorities, the results have been fairly modest.  In 2010, approximately 11% of the students in BSN programs were men and 26.8% were a racial/ethnic minority.

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This is one reason why the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND prides itself on  providing "a nursing education for leadership and moral courage" and places an emphasis on diversity.

“U-Mary is a community of learners that recognizes and respects diversity and the richness it brings to the college experience,” according the catalog of the private, Catholic university that offers degree completion and advanced nursing degrees online and on campus.

University of Mary prides itself as “community that fosters diversity through hospitality and dialogue so as to learn to live in an interconnected world.”

Why are more men and people of color needed in today’s nursing ranks? To help meet the medical and personal needs of the United States’ increasingly diverse patient population that is adding varied ethnic, racial and cultural traditions to the country. Patient stories such as these from the University of California, San Francisco are good examples.

  • Selena Martinez was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, a genetic disease that can lead to a wide-range of cancers. It wasn't until 2008 that the Martinez family, which in just 16 years had 13 cancer diagnoses among nine people, received a conclusive diagnosis of Lynch Syndrome.
  • Simone Chou, was in her last year at the University of California, Berkeley when she learned she had lupus and that her immune system was attacking her kidneys. After nine years of treatment failed to slow the deterioration, Chou and her doctors launched a nationwide search to find a compatible kidney donor. They didn’t have far to look. Michael Wong, a college friend, stepped up. Wong, a practicing Buddhist, had read many stories about Buddhist saints who donated their body parts to other people. "When I first heard Simone talk about needing a kidney transplant, I remembered those stories."
  • Doris Ward is one of the pioneering African-American politicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. She started her career as a trustee of the San Francisco Community College District, became a County Supervisor in 1980, President of the Board of Supervisors in 1990 and finally moved on to spend the last 10 years as the San Francisco County Assessor. She is also a breast cancer survivor. Ward now helps other African-American women through their own journey with cancer by sending them information and helping them understand their options.

“Nursing’s leaders recognize a strong connection between a culturally diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide quality, culturally competent patient care,” according to a policy statement by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

 “Though nursing has made great strides in recruiting and graduating nurses that mirror the patient population, more must be done before adequate representation becomes a reality,” the association statement added.

The University of Mary is ready to help ensure that the nursing ranks reflect the diversity of our nation. For a welcoming environment, online or on campus, to get your advanced practice nursing degree, contact the University of Mary.

Topics: men, diversity in nursing, men in healthcare, university of mary, diversity, online, degree

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