Regional Chapter to Promote Men in Nursing Formed
Members of the University of South Florida College of Nursing have launched a regional chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing (AAMN). The American Assembly of Men in Nursing Tampa Bay at the University of South Florida will serve students and alumni of the USF College of Nursing, as well as nurses in the Tampa Bay region.
Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior associate vice president of USF Health and College of Nursing dean, has supported the regional chapter with a Platinum School Start-Up Plan worth $2,000, and she will pay for 50 students and seven registered nurses to join.
“At the USF College of Nursing, one of our core values is inclusion, and it is important that we recognize the contributions men make to the nursing profession,” said Dr. Rich. “So many men are talented and compassionate nurses, and it is critical that we provide them with the support they need.”
Associate Professor Cheryl Zambroski, PhD, RN, initiated the formation of the AAMN chapter. As the college’s director of Undergraduate Student Success, Dr. Zambroski said she has noticed that over the years, male student nurses had different concerns than the women.
“The topics they were interested in were different. How they interacted with faculty was slightly different. How they communicated with each other, and the things that challenged them were different,” she said.
With males making up 10 to 15 percent of the student body “at the very most,” Zambroski began looking for resources to help mentor that group. She says she “essentially stumbled upon” AAMN, but knew she could not be its leader.
“I don’t have their challenges,” she said. “I thought that if we really want to mentor our undergraduate students, we need to get graduate students involved, male nurses involved, and really make it a men’s health, men’s mentorship organization. I saw different schools implementing that. The voices needed to not be mine.”
Founding members elected College of Nursing Assistant Professor Andrew Bugajski, RN, PhD, as president of the chapter after he served an integral role in its formation. Fellow College of Nursing faculty John Todaro, BA, NRP, RN, TNS, NCEE, CHSE, CHSOS, Alan Todd, DNP, CRNA, CHSE, and Marc Rosales, DNP, MBA/HCM, RN, CCRN, were elected president elect, secretary and treasurer, respectively.
The chapter was officially confirmed on May 28, and plan to have meetings at USF. They currently have eight members from the College of Nursing. With the nearest AAMN chapter in South Florida at the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, organizers hope to draw members regionally, including areas like St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee, Lakeland and Orlando.
In addition to serving in a mentorship role, Dr. Bugajski also hopes to amplify the voices of men in nursing, who are a minority in the field. His main concern will be outreach to undergraduate and graduate students at USF, as well as nurses in local hospitals.
A shared experience, he says, can help bring out the best in the profession.
“It is incredibly important to be able to ask a guy about their experiences and find those mentors who can have a much more relatable experience than maybe a female colleague would,” Dr. Bugajski said. “If you don’t have any guy friends to bounce things off of, it can be lonely as a male in the profession. So, as our chapter grows, it’s very important to establish a great pipeline and organization of where you can come talk about issues that you normally may not feel as comfortable talking about to a female colleague.”
As a chapter, AAMN will be able to expand its outreach into areas that are not traditionally targeted in nursing. That includes more male-centric areas, such as sporting and men’s health events. As a part of their mission, they will aim to bring men’s health concerns like cigar smoking and prostate cancer to areas where it will connect with a larger proportion of men.
Anyone interested in joining The American Assembly of Men in Nursing Tampa Bay at the University of South Florida should contact Bugajski by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Alex Hooper, USF College of Nursing