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Mount Union Students Breaking Stigma of Men in Nursing

April 24, 2018

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The field of nursing is one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand fields in America today, yet the field is still made up of 90 percent women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Formerly an unpopular choice amongst men due to societal stigma of past generations, the number of men in the field has tripled since 1970, according to the BLS. Though that is significant, it still only makes up 9.6 percent of all nurses. 

The University of Mount Union’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program currently has 13 male students, all of whom are working to advance the idea that men can make great nurses. 

Senior twin brothers Jacob and Josh Lock ’18, of Ravenna, Ohio will both be graduating with BSN degrees in May and already have jobs lined up upon graduating. Jacob is currently working at University Hospital’s Portage Medical Center and will stay there after graduating as an RN. 

When asked about what advice he would give to future male nurses, Jacob stressed patience as a key. “A lot of people are surprised by a male nursing student, but most think what we are doing is a great deed to society and a great advancement of ourselves,” he said.

Josh will also be staying in his current role, which is as a staff RN at Akron Children’s Hospital. “I’m very excited to get to help kids every day of my life and to impact them in a positive way,” he said. “There is nothing more rewarding to understand the body, how it works, and how to fix it.” 

Nick Schlabach ’18, a nursing major of Navarre, Ohio, will be working at the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus in the heart and vascular intensive care unit when he graduates in May. 

“I’m really looking forward to putting the knowledge and skills I have gained here at Mount Union into practice as well as continuing my education at the graduate level,” Schlabach said. “I believe that advocating and encouraging more men to enter nursing is crucial to ending the stigma of men in nursing. I applied to Mount Union’s nursing program after a conversation with a male nurse who was caring for my great-grandpa one day when I was visiting him in the hospital. He encouraged me to look into Mount’s nursing program and the rest is history.”

The passion for nursing exhibited by the Lock brothers and Schlabach will not leave when they do, as freshman Cody DeBos ’21, a nursing major of Massillon, Ohio, and junior Jason Hadley ’19, a nursing major of Liberty Center, Ohio, represent a new wave of male nurses at Mount Union. 

“If you have a passion for what you’re doing, and you’re doing it for the right reasons, then that’s really all that matters” DeBos said. “To those who think nursing isn’t a field for men, they’re missing out on one of the best career paths you can take. Knowing that I will go to work every day with the chance to have a positive impact on the lives of my future patients is surreal and I can’t wait to follow through with it.” 

“My advice for other men entering the nursing profession is to be yourself,” Hadley said. “Authenticity allows us to make genuine human connections. Nursing is a wonderful profession that will give you a sense of purpose and meaning in life.” 

There is still a lot of work to be done to help with society’s reaction to men in nursing, but the men at Mount Union are working to combat that through knowledge and professionalism.

“If you want to be a nurse, go for it,” DeBos said. “Tune out the people who say otherwise. Being a nurse means that you’ll have so many amazing opportunities to help people.”