One of the reasons Jerrin Thomas drove all the way from Anaheim to attend the Men in Nursing event at West Coast University-Ontario was to meet more people like him.
"I wanted to come here to see people like me in this field, to learn from their challenges, and see what they did to overcome them so I can apply those in my clinical rotation and, hopefully, my professional career," he said.
Thomas worked in the field of pharmaceutics for two years, but eventually grew tired of sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day and decided he wanted to work directly with patients. Now enrolled in WCU-Orange County's bachelor of science in nursing program, Thomas was eager to hear from other male nurses about the difficulties they faced and what steps he could take to be a better caregiver.
"I think men can be very effective nurses," Thomas said. "At the end of the day, we have both males and females in the hospital as patients, and sometimes a male patient does prefer to have a male nurse to take care of them."
WCU-Ontario Career Services Director Michelle Meitner said she was very excited about the turnout for the Men in Nursing event, and thanked the more than 200 students who attended. Meitner said more than 15 booths were set up for a variety of groups, including nursing associations, healthcare organizations and employers who were specifically recruiting male nurses.
Besides current students, Meitner also hoped prospective students interested in nursing would come to future events to see the campus and learn from guest speakers like WCU-Ontario nursing instructor and alumni Edmund Alfonso or featured speaker Joe Avelino, the chief nursing officer of College Medical Center in Long Beach.
“The field of nursing is definitely receptive to having more men in recruitment, and that’s why we have seven employers here today focused on recruitment of men," Meitner said. "We’re really excited that our male students received more education today on the career opportunities available to them and that our female students were able to learn more about how they can help support their fellow students.”