Thanks to students initiative, an official American Assembly for Men in Nursing charter in the fall and prospects of a local conference on the horizon, male nursing students at Seton Hall University College of Nursing have a lot of support.
The South Orange, N.J.-based universitys nursing program, which already exceeds national statistics for male enrollment, might be getting an even bigger bump because of its new campus addition — the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. AAMN first appeared at Seton Hall last fall, and the chapter will receive its charter in October in San Francisco at the annual AAMN conference.
Eddie Cuza had been a medic in the Air Force for five years when a GI bill scholarship led him to apply to study nursing at Seton Hall. As the president of the student nurses association on campus in fall 2011, Cuza and another student submitted an abstract about barriers for men in nursing to the AAMN. The men were asked to present their thesis at the annual AAMN national conference in Lexington, Ky.
After meeting the national directors and making contacts within the organization, the students were asked to start a chapter. With just a bit of paperwork and the support of Phyllis Shanley Hansell, RN, EdD, FAAN, dean and professor at Seton Halls College of Nursing, the chapter was up and running.Phyllis Shanley Hansell, RN
Seton Halls group is the sole AAMN chapter in New Jersey and is the closest assembly to New York City, said Cuza, a senior BSN student.
The chapter started with eight members and now boasts about 20, though Cuza said he anticipates that number will increase by the end of the summer. The goal is to have 50 members by 2013, he said.
Hansell said she has thrown her support behind AAMN because it supports the underrepresented group in nursing — men. As dean of the nursing school, Hansell has a goal of enrolling 50% men in Seton Halls nursing program. After some substantial growth, the men comprise about 18%, she said. Hansell said she believes a strong AAMN group on campus will help support male nurses at the school and in the nursing profession.
“We are looking to become a magnet for men in nursing in this area,” she said. “This will be an organization on campus that will enable our men to achieve on the highest level.”
The AAMN group at Seton Hall regularly performs community service, hosts a public health fair and brings guest speakers to campus. Seton Halls AAMN members work with the student nurse association and are a positive force on campus, Hansell said.
With Hansells leadership, a national AAMN conference could be held in the area in 2013.
The national opportunity for networking motivates Cuza, who has plans to apply to nurse practitioner programs this summer. He has found and made substantial nursing connections across the country. The Seton Hall chapter also has reached out to alumni and recently added esteemed nursing graduates to its roster.
Cuza said he backs AAMN because he has a passion to help eliminate the “women-only” stigma sometimes found in nursing.
“When I think about caring for someone, or helping out in an emergency situation, theres nothing extremely lady-like or emasculating about that,” he said. “The more innovative minds we can get together, the better the outcome for the patient. We need all the creative minds we can get, not just [male] or [female].”
Andrea Scott is a freelance writer.
Nurses interested in joining Seton Halls group or a local AAMN chapter can visit AAMN.org.