he men are back.
UVA student group ‘Men Advancing Nursing’ – called the MAN Club, for short – has returned to the School of Nursing after a brief hiatus, and, say its organizers, it’s high time. The group’s refocused aims, explain Josh Moore (BSN `17) and Ryan Thomas (BSN `20), are to gather like-minded guys pursuing nursing careers and to organize a series of public lectures and forums to shine a light on men’s health issues, like prostate cancer, body image, eating disorders affecting men, and mental health.
“We want to create a brotherhood of sorts in a place where there are a lot of sisterhoods,” explains Moore, of Richlands, Va., a 4th year who’s already landed a job as a pediatric nurse at Niswonger Children’s Hospital after graduation, “and we hope to make male issues known, and better understood in a way that appeals to everyone.”
Moore, who cites his obstetrics rotation as among his most difficult, says the MAN Club also provides a space for men in nursing to talk shop with their peers about the issues and challenges they face.
“Even though we’re all going through the same nursing school, men and women can have different issues, challenges, during it,” he says. “This forum will allow us to work through these scenarios in a productive way.”
Thomas, of Loudon County, Va., agrees. The MAN Club’s newest leader is already making plans to potentially collaborate with and sponsor this fall's 4th year 5K race to build awareness, and a public lecture on men’s mental health issues in November, once the group’s constitution is in order.
“We’re hoping to diversify the conversations we’re having,” says Thomas, who’s one of six men enrolled in the BSN class of 2020, “and make this a place where guys considering nursing know they’ll have a place, and a voice. We’re excited about reaching out to newly admitted men to welcome them to the School, and to this group.
Nationally, about ten percent of nurses are male, but since the 1970s, the rate of male nurses has more than tripled, from 2.7 percent in 1970 to 9.6 percent in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 3.5 million nurses in 2011, 330,000 were male. Men’s representation is highest among nurse anesthetist, 41 percent of whom are male.
In 2016, 35 of UVA’s 408 undergraduate nursing students were men, roughly nine percent, mirroring national trends. But men make up a higher-than-average proportion of UVA master’s and doctoral students. Seventeen percent of master’s students are men (37 out of 215) while 18 percent of doctoral students are men. The School’s Clinical Nurse Leader master’s program has traditionally drawn the highest proportion of males, between 17 and 20 percent.
While the MAN Club is focused on men, all nursing students are also invited to be members, and anyone may attend MAN Club events.
“Anybody’s welcome to be a part of this,” says Adam Seid, director of graduate admission and financial aid and the group’s advisor. “I think the MAN Club’s measure of success will be to create opportunities for nursing students – and the University as a whole – to become better informed about men’s health issues. Everyone can benefit from this exposure.”