Over 10 nursing majors at GC are men, including Contreras, Berkey, and Kaufman“I remember the first time I visited a brand new hospital,” said Julio Contreras, a first-year nursing major, recollecting the day he decided to become a nurse.
Contreras remembered the story of an elderly nurse he had encountered, who shared her story about saving someone’s life. Her patient had been in the hospital for several weeks when the doctor said it was alright to go home.
“She didn’t agree with the doctor’s note of release, and urged him to stay – and he did,” said Contreras. “The very next day, the patient suffered from a heart attack and she was there to help him. I admired her so much, and because of that, she inspired me to become a nurse.”
Goshen College was the first liberal arts institution in Indiana to offer a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. For more than 1,600 students, the program has been a stepping stone towards their nursing career.
For some, the nursing program is a rigorous one, challenging students on a daily basis to prepare them for their future in caring for human lives.
“This program is rigorous, and because of that I know that Goshen produces some of the best nurses around,” said Contreras.
Although female nurses consistently outnumber male nurses, Goshen College is currently educating over 10 male nursing majors.
Luke Kaufman, a first-year, wanted to work in the medical field and was interested in Goshen’s acclaimed program.
“Being a doctor didn’t appeal to me as much –so nursing came to mind,” he said. Some influence towards choosing this major stemmed from two of Kauffman’s family members, who had graduated from Goshen College with nursing degrees as well.
Like Kaufman, Jared Berkey, a sophomore, did not see himself fitting into the role of a doctor, but he still wanted to be involved in health care.
“I want to be able to spend time with individual patients and be a bridge between doctor and patient,” said Berkey. “I also find the opportunity of building relationships with people in their most vulnerable of moments to be very appealing.”
In the nursing workplace, stereotypes are quick to associate women with nursing. As male nursing students at Goshen College, Kaufman, Berkey, and Contreras said they have had very positive experiences during their studies so far.
“It hasn’t really been much of a factor that I am male,” Kaufman said. “For me, the stereotypes do not bother me because I don’t feel that [only] certain genders should have certain jobs.”
During their nursing careers at Goshen, all three men have enjoyed the sense of community both among other nursing students and among the campus.
“I feel right at home and feel like just another member of the nursing team,” Berkey said.
Although aware of the common stereotypes against male nurses, Contreras, like Kaufman and Berkey, doesn’t pay them much attention.
Contreras said, “Usually when I tell people that I’m a nursing major, they look at me and say ‘Aren’t women usually nurses?’”
“I simply smile and say ‘it’s a passion of mine to go out and help people in need.’ And I’m going to live with that for the rest of my life,” he said.