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Updated 08 May 2013

Men-in-nursing forum to be launched

South Africa will soon launch a Men-in-Nursing forum as the number of male nurses grows.

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Nursing was not Zee Brickles’ first choice as a profession. In fact, he spent most of his childhood dreaming of being a paramedic, until he completed matric and his circumstances left him with few choices.

 A classmate convinced him that nursing could be an avenue into emergency medical care that could later lead to him becoming a paramedic. Almost two decades later and despite the stereotypes often associated with men in nursing, Brickles is now Netcare’s head of nursing.      

Selvador Bruiners, nursing manager at Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital, has a similar story. A rebel at heart, he wanted to be a minister of religion when he matriculated – then “life happened”, he says.

Caring for patients over two decades

Drawn by the incredible respect with which nurses were regarded and the pride they took in wearing their uniform, a friend, Sr Sarah Masimila, who still practices nursing in Port Elizabeth, convinced him to consider the vocation. In his 26 years as a nurse he has never looked back, says Bruiners. 

Despite men being the minority in what is still widely considered to be a profession for women, both Zee and Selvador found their niche in nursing, as it allowed them to fulfill their passion for caring for patients.

They also credit incredible mentors who honoured the values and traditions of their profession, which inspired them to remain in this career and focus on continuous learning. They incorporated this into their goal of becoming nurse leaders who promote nursing with competence, confidence and compassion.

Motivated by their passion for their jobs and their own achievements, Brickles and Bruiners are committed to improving the representation of men in nursing and are encouraging males to join the ranks of phenomenal male and female nurses.

Celebrating International Nurses Day

As countries around the world celebrate International Nurses Day on 12 May, the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, the role males have played in the occupation should not be forgotten. “Several millennia ago, men dominated the profession. The world's first nursing school was founded in India in about 250BC and only had male students,” says Brickles.

Bruiners is in the process of establishing a forum, Men in Nursing (SA), to provide a framework for nurses to meet, discuss and influence factors which affect men as nurses. The forum will be aligned to the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN), he says. Bruiners is liaising with the co-chair of the membership and new chapter committee of AAMN’s board in Richmond, Virginia, in this regard.

Bruiners says the nurses he has contacted over the past few months have shown keen interest in forming such a forum in South Africa. “The response was phenomenal and we expect the forum to be launched in the last quarter of 2013,” adds Bruiners.

The role of the forum

The Men in Nursing (SA) forum will have the following role once it is fully operational:

  • Offering support and encouragement to all males in nursing for the purposes of professional growth and highlighting men’s contribution to the nursing profession.
  • Encouraging research initiatives, education and information sharing on men in nursing and nursing knowledge at all levels.
  • Supporting other nurse-friendly initiatives, movements and organisations to enhance the image and status of the profession.
  • Compiling and publishing an online newsletter for information sharing, networking and educational purposes. 
 
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