Since 2012 at Miami, eight to 15 men on average have been part of the program of 80 students, said Paula Harrison, assistant chair of the department of nursing and associate professor of nursing.
Since 2012 at Miami, eight to 15 men on average have been part of the program of 80 students, said Paula Harrison, assistant chair of the department of nursing and associate professor of nursing. Photo: Jeff Sabo

Nursing is a “people profession” and more men are signing up

Miami expanding program to meet the demand

By Margo Kissell, university news and communications

Twenty years ago, Mark Ball considered going into nursing but ended up changing his mind because of what he perceived as a gender stereotype.

Instead, he got a job driving heavy equipment.

mark ball

Mark Ball

“I was good at it, it was good money, but I hated it,” said Ball, 42, of Oxford. “There were no people interactions.”

With his kids now teenagers, Ball is back in school, pursuing what he always wanted to do — become a nurse. Now in his third year of Miami University’s bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program, he is proud to be part of the changing face of nursing. Nationally, men now make up about 13 percent of the high-demand field.

Since 2012 at Miami, eight to 15 men on average have been part of the program of 80 students, said Paula Harrison, assistant chair of the department of nursing and associate professor of nursing.

Typically, 40 nursing students make up each cohort on the Middletown and Hamilton campuses, although Miami’s nursing program is growing.

A new cohort of 61 nursing students (including 10 males) will be based on the Oxford campus beginning this fall to meet a growing student demand.

“Nursing is a ‘people’ profession, rather than a woman’s profession and perceptions are changing,” Harrison said. “Male nursing students bring a unique perspective and set of skills that provide us with diverse student cohorts.”

Ball said his only regret is that he didn’t start in the nursing program sooner because he loves it, especially interacting with patients during clinicals at Mercy Health - Fairfield Hospital.

“All these professors here want to see you succeed, whether you’re starting out at 18 years old or coming back at 40,” said Ball, vice president of the Miami Nursing Students Association and secretary of a Miami Men in Nursing chapter that became active this year.

Class of 2018 graduate enjoys variety that a career in nursing offers

men practicing nursing

A new cohort of 61 nursing students will be based on the Oxford campus beginning this fall. (Photo by Jeff Sabo)

At Miami’s May 19 commencement, Christian McLaughlin will graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in nursing.

He had started in pre-law at Miami but switched career paths because he likes how nursing offers so many specialty areas such as cardiac, neurology, oncology, psychiatric and trauma.

“You can be sort of a jack-of-all-trades and work various units in health care or you can find your passion and specialize in a specific unit,” he said.

McLaughlin, 25, of Franklin, already has a job lined up with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he began working as a patient care assistant through Miami a year ago.

He noted that Children’s carries the prestigious Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s program, “so being able to accept an RN position there as my first job is a dream come true.”

McLaughlin said developing a trusting relationship with patients is crucial in achieving better health outcomes.

“I enjoy helping others and I believe a good conversation and positive attitude can go a long way, but I also enjoy the science and critical thinking that is required in the clinical setting,” he said.

christian mclaughlinChristian McLaughlin

McLaughlin said he will be a floor nurse on a unit with children on the autism spectrum or who have developmental disabilities.

Bill Lecher, assistant vice president of the Division of Patient Services at Children’s, a top three pediatric medical center in the nation, said they have a strong focus on improving gender diversity and inclusion of its nursing workforce. More than 250 male nurses work there.

“We have intentionally focused on increasing the number of men in pediatric nursing at our hospital,” he said. “While only three percent of the pediatric nurses statewide are men, at Cincinnati Children’s seven percent of the nurses are men."

Like Miami, Cincinnati Children’s has been a partner and supporter of the American Association for Men in Nursing and actively participates with the local chapter, Lecher said.

“Our men nurses make meaningful differences for our patients and families every day,” he said.

That’s what Ball wants to do. Thanks to clinicals at Mercy-Fairfield hospital, he feels like he already has.

This semester, Ball assisted with a birth. He said he was fully involved in the process and that the young mother was fully supportive of him being in the room.

“This is what I found out: If you go into a room as a professional and you treat that patient with respect and dignity, they reciprocate that,” he said. “I have taken care of 70-year-old women and I’ve taken care of 19-year-old women, and I’ve never had a problem.”

Ball said his 18-year-old son plans to enter Miami’s nursing program in the fall.