Male nursing students and alumni share their stories


by Morgan Vuknic, Creative Services Student Writer

Men in Nursing

Nursing is a field that is often associated with women, but men in the field are changing that presumption. As male nurses, current and former JMU students agree that they bring different perspectives to the field and that nursing is a rewarding occupation.

“I encourage everyone to be a nurse,” Ryan Caruso (‘17) said. “It’s one of the best careers you can choose if you want flexibility or if you want to travel. It’s one of the only fields where you never have to worry about not having a job. Nursing is a very high stakes environment, but it’s very exciting and helping people makes it worth it.”   

Ted Aronson (‘15) said that classmates in the JMU nursing program become very close due to the amount of time they spend together. Because of this closeness, Aronson said he felt support as a male nurse.  

“The nursing program has nice camaraderie,” Aronson said. “You’re in this cohort of people and we’d all help each other with school work, take summer classes together and experience clinicals together. “There weren’t many of us so we became tight knit.”  

After a car accident in 2016, Tristan Miller (‘21) was inspired to become a nurse. He said that he wanted to give back to people the way that his nurses gave to him. After going through JMU’s nursing program and getting real life experience, he said he realized the value in having male nurses.  

“Male nurses bring in the male perspective of the patient,” Miller said. “They understand male patient experiences. They have a different viewpoint as they’ve grown up in the world differently than women. But both men and women bring their own knowledge to the table and help each other out.”  

Miller said that the biggest stereotype facing men in nursing is that men are often not seen as caring enough to be nurses. Although these stereotypes are diminishing, Miller and nursing senior Clayton Powell agreed that they are still present at times.  

“When there are more males in the field, we are changing the gender stereotype of what a nurse should look like,'' Powell said. “Sometimes you’ll get patients with those stereotypical views that are harder to get through to and who look at you differently than they would a female nurse but it’s gotten better as society has become more progressive.”  

Powell said that hospitals benefit from having diversity in their nursing staff. Having male nurses gives male patients someone they can relate to on a personal level.   

Aronson believes that the way nursing has been marketed in the past is the reason that so many men choose not to pursue a career in it.  

“I think these gender stereotypes exist because of the way nursing is advertised,” Aronson said. “I tell people nursing is one of the best fields there is because it is so diverse. There is a different type of nursing for everyone and I think if we make that clearer to men, then more men will choose it.”  

Aronson and Caruso agree that nursing is a very rewarding career path and that the field would benefit from an increase in male nurses.  

“I think men do themselves a disservice by not being in this field of medicine,” Caruso said. “Although nursing is viewed as a female dominated field, it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I think culturally men are taught that they are not as caring as women are. Occupations like teaching and social work are typically female dominated, but I think men bring something interesting to fields like that.”  

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Published: Monday, March 7, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2024

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