The number of female nurses far outweighs the number of their male counterparts, but when it comes to networking opportunities, Mercy Springfield is leveling the playing field.
The Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing (AAMN) provides male nurses with a new way to network and collaborate with colleagues. It’s the third of its kind in Missouri, joining chapters in St. Louis and Kansas City.
“It’s a very female-oriented world and we’re okay with that, but men still need to socialize,” said Paul Pope, chapter president and instructor at Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Pope worked with his coworkers to bring AAMN to Mercy Springfield Communities. “The whole idea was to get our own venues with more likeable, congenial and appropriate events so we could get to know everyone a little better.”
Nurse Sterling Kromas, 25, a former phlebotomist and emergency room technician, was one of ten men in his graduating class. “There were 60 to 70 of us, constantly feeding information to each other and learning, but the ratio was extremely one-sided,” he said. Kromas is now going on his second year of nursing and is also teaching an ER portion of a young traffic offenders program in Springfield.
“This new chapter of AAMN will make Sterling more visible and social,” added Pope. “It’ll help him be an overall better performer in nursing and in the community. This is a pioneering moment for nurses in hospitals, colleges and nursing homes in southwest Missouri.”
AAMN was founded in 1974 as the National Male Nurses Association. Seven years later, its name was changed to better reflect the goals and membership of nurses past, present and future. “Over the last year, we’d been trying to lay some framework about increasing diversity, which would then spill over into a greater diversity among our workforce here,” added Pope.
Kromas is still in touch with many of his fellow nursing school graduates. He welcomes the new opportunities heading his way. “There are more men getting into management positions and being able to network and exchange ideas would be great,” added Kromas. “I think it would be fun to set up member days to go shooting or fishing.”
“In Springfield, we seem to have always been blessed to have more men in our ranks than other parts of the country,” said Rebecca Miller, director of the associate degree program at Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “The national average is about 11 percent, but at our college we’re at 15 percent for our student population.”
Monthly social venues “promote the perspective and visibility of men in nursing, which in turn creates visible role models that may influence other men to join the profession,” added Pope. And it’s not exclusive to men. “We have women on the board and are members themselves. It’s open to anyone who is interested in nursing, has been a nurse or is in nursing.”
To learn more about the local AAMN chapter, click here.
Since 1986, Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Southwest Baptist University have offered courses for a wide variety of entry level nursing and allied health programs. Additionally, it offers advanced degree programs for registered nurses who wish to advance their professional education opening career levels at the next level.