Breaking Stereotypes, Making Dreams

Brittney Means, Opinion Editor

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For some, making a career decision is a struggle.  For Caleb Nicolay, it was an easy one.

Caleb was raised in Battle Creek, Neb.  He attended St. John’s Lutheran grade school and then Lutheran High Northeast in Norfolk, Neb.  When Caleb was in high school, he got a job at Community Pride Care Center, the nursing home in Battle Creek, as a dietary aide.  While working there, Caleb noticed the interaction the CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistant) had with the residents and decided he wanted to have that same close, personal interaction with the residents as well.  Caleb then got his CNA and enjoyed it immensely. That is when he made the life changing decision of becoming a nurse.

Caleb graduated Lutheran High in 2009 and started college in Aug. of that year at Northeast Community College.  In his first two years, Caleb took his general education classes.  In October of 2010, Caleb applied to UNMC (University of Nebraska Medical Center) college of nursing and in May of 2011, he was accepted. Caleb started nursing school in August of 2011 with the hopes of graduating in May 2013 with his BSN (Bachelors’ Degree of Nursing). With this degree, he will become an RN (Registered Nurse).

Caleb is one of three men in a class with 44 women.  When asked about being in the lower part of the ratio of men to women, Caleb replied, “Being male or female doesn’t matter at this point, we all have the mind-set of becoming a nurse.”  Though he doesn’t face any challenges at this point being a man, he does carry the thought that patients may not want him to take care of them because of his gender in the future.

It is a common stereotype that nurses are women.  However, there are benefits to having men as nurses as well.  “Diversity perspective,” is one of the benefits said Anne Wilber, MSN, an instructor with UNMC.  If a hospital has nurses of different genders, races, age, etc., there is more input that the hospital will have.

Caleb continues to go to school.  He says he expected nursing school to be hard. He also expected to have class every day, which he hasn’t.  However, just because he may not have class, doesn’t mean he isn’t studying or re-reading chapters from his books.  Caleb said the reading assignments are long and challenging; as well as everything else.

Caleb isn’t completely sure of his plans for the future.  He doesn’t know if he wants to stay close to home and nurse, or be a nurse in a bigger city, at a bigger hospital and gain more experience.  Right now he is just trying to do his best and get through school.

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