Organization for men in nursing grows at Widener University

( In August 2012, Widener University in Chester, Pa., established a chapter of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing for the Greater Philadelphia region. Led by Widener University nursing alumnus Frank Poliafico and a board of students, faculty and practicing nurses, the chapter aims to increase awareness of the need for men in the field and to reduce gender discrimination, according to a news release. And since the chapter’s inception, it has continued to grow.

The inspiration to start a chapter of this organization in the Philadelphia region stemmed from the research of Normajean Colby, RN, PhD, CPN, assistant professor of nursing at Widener University, according to the release. In 2010, while working on her dissertation, Colby discovered the need for a network for men in nursing. Her dissertation focused on how the field of nursing was perceived by nurses who were male.

“We are reaching out to the nursing community and taking a leadership role in addressing the need for better awareness and appreciation of the roles of men in nursing,” Poliafico said in the release. “For men in nursing, we want to provide an educational opportunity to help achieve better gender balance that will enhance the profession.”

Poliafico said in the release he believes men aren’t entering the field because they don’t hear or know enough about it.

“There is a significant lack of male recruiting,” he said in the release. “There is also discrimination, because it’s been so identified as women’s work.”

According to the release, both Poliafico and Colby believe there needs to be a gender balance for the field to be successful because men and women think differently.

“Our focus overall is improving better patient care,” Colby said in the release. “We have to appeal to our patients. … Nursing is not women’s work. It’s nurse’s work.”

According to the release, the chapter wants to increase awareness and enhance its outreach in the community by holding events for local organizations.

“We need to have more role models and better recruiting tactics for the industry, as well as networks and resources for men in the field,” Poliafico said in the release.

The chapter at Widener has more than 20 members including alumni and students. It plans to hold its first networking event this spring.