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Dispelling the male nursing myth

The following blog is written by Tom Paterson, a graduate nurse at Peninsula Health. 

If someone had of asked me four years ago if I envisioned myself becoming a nurse I probably would have responded no. Not because I’m not interested in healthcare rather because of the stereotypes attached to male nurses at this current point in time. The inaccurate and misleading stigma attached to nursing definitely had an impact in me shying away from conversations related to career aspirations and to a extent deterred me from what I now consider a great profession!

Once I was able to move past these inaccurate views, I have really been able to appreciate and enjoy nursing for what it is. As I’ve recently discovered through my graduate year thus far the autonomy of the job is more then assisting people and writing notes – it has been actively engaging from code blues, MET calls, death, health and everything in between. Like any job you can have your bad days where your head feels like it wants to explode but it’s the colleagues around you that make you want to come back everyday and do it all over again. With these days being few and far between they don’t leave a negative lasting impression, but rather a learning opportunity to what you could have done better.

The biggest challenge I feel I have faced as a nurse is something that I have only recently been able to put a title to but have experienced infrequently. Compassion burnout!  In nursing you do have those days where you are constantly under time restraints to no undoing of your own, rather bad luck. It causes a build-up of stress where a patient’s very reasonable remark, comment or need turns out to be the straw that broke the camels back.

As the conclusion of my first rotation on Walker Ward approaches, I can begin to reflect on the most memorable and important experiences I have encountered along the way as a graduate nurse.

Firstly, medication administration. The daunting, yet strangely enjoyable moment of administering medication for the very first time is a surreal moment I won’t forget. Similar to driving independently for the first time you experience a sensation of achievement and independence that leaves you feeling positive.

Secondly, having the ability to actively put your knowledge into practice and put in place interventions to assist in improving a patient’s health status –whether it’s something simple like commencing them on new assessments or actively engaging in a medical emergency.

Finally, the most important thing I have taken away from my rotation is the comradery and support of Walker Ward that exists on both a professional and personal level. I have never been involved in a workplace or profession where I feel I have been supported and valued as much as I have during this rotation. It has taught me that working collectively will always beat working individually, which is what nursing is all about. 

So far my experiences at Peninsula Health have been positive and I hope to continue these experiences on my future wards.

Thanks for reading.


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