Celebrating male nurses at Goulburn Valley Health
Published at: 16 Aug 2019
NURSING HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN A FEMALE-DOMINATED INDUSTRY.
According to Goulburn Valley Health’s transition to practice co-ordinator Lyn Brett, men fill only about 10 per cent of the national nursing workforce.
The career is becoming increasingly desirable for men, however, with several benefits to entering the nursing workforce.
“Nursing is seen as a compassionate, stable career and it is regularly at the top of the most trusted careers,” Ms Brett said.
“Having a greater number of men in the nursing workforce adds to the diversity and positively impacts on teams and culture.”
Ms Brett also said the sector came with a variety of career pathways.
“There are opportunities to specialise in many areas and complete postgraduate qualifications,” she said.
We caught up with six male nurses working in various departments across GV Health’s Shepparton campus in Graham St.
JOE O’CONNOR, REGISTERED NURSE, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
A nasty truck accident that resulted in Joe O’Connor being admitted to hospital was the catalyst for him deciding to become a nurse.
The Goulburn Valley Health registered nurse had been working as a firefighter for the then-Department of Sustainable Environment (now Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning).
“I was in a truck that rolled over so I went to hospital for a few days,” Mr O’Connor said.
It was there his desire to become a nurse was ignited.
After completing his training, Mr O’Connor spent a graduate year at GV Health last year before officially taking up employment in the emergency department in February.
Mr O’Connor said he was a local to the Goulburn Valley, having grown up in Seymour.
“I moved to Melbourne for a few years while I did my Division 2 (enrolled nursing),” he said.
“Then I went to La Trobe University in Shepparton for my Division 1 (registered nursing) course because it’s closer and easier.”
For Mr O’Connor, living and working regionally made sense.
“It’s so easy to get to work; rent is cheap,” he said. “And I can get back to see my family quite quickly.”
While he admitted working in the emergency department could be stressful, he said it was giving him good overall knowledge of the nursing profession.
“When families come in, they are at their most vulnerable so it’s even more rewarding when you help the patient,” Mr O’Connor said.
HOSPITAL ADMISSION RISK PROGRAM CARE CO-ORDINATOR, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
Terence Tuohey said he had seen an increase in the number of men becoming nurses since he began the career in the 1990s.
Completing his graduate year at GV Health in 1994, Mr Tuohey said his university class had been dominated by women, with about 220 compared to just 10 men.
Mr Tuohey said he worked at the hospital for about nine years, then moved into community work and became a case manager at a secondary school.
But the hospital setting was calling Mr Tuohey, who began working at GV Health again 13 years ago when the Hospital Admission Risk Program began.
“I see people in the emergency department who are going home and assess them,” he said.
“We can also do follow-ups with them.”
SIMON GREY, NURSE POOL STAFF MEMBER
After working in the aged care sector for 12 months, Simon Grey said he was glad to now be working in GV Health's emergency department and general wards.
The enrolled nurse began working on the busy ED floor two months ago.
“I’m loving it,” he said.
“This is the job I was trained to do.”
Mr Grey said his role involved doing a lot of different tests on patients that presented to ED, assisting in determining a diagnosis.
“We do ECGs (electrocardiogram) and all sorts of tests,” he said.
Mr Grey said he was drawn to nursing after personal experiences.
“I had a few family members that were sick,” he said.
CLINTON MORESCO, REGISTERED NURSE, SURGICAL UNIT
For Clinton Moresco, sitting in an office all day was not a desirable career.
The GV Health registered nurse had been working as a draftsman drawing up architectural designs when he decided it was time for a change.
“My mum got ill, and I helped out with her care,” he said.
It was a result of this that Mr Moresco realised he wanted to become a nurse.
After completing a personal care assistant course, Mr Moresco went on to complete Division 2 then Division 1 nursing courses.
Having worked at GV Health about 10 years ago, Mr Moresco recently returned to the area two years ago and took up employment at the hospital’s Graham St campus once again.
“I was at Royal Melbourne Hospital after I’d come back from a stint in the Northern Territory,” he said.
Mr Moresco now works on GV Health’s surgical ward and said he enjoyed the fast-paced environment of the hospital setting.
“It’s different every day,” he said.
He said he also enjoyed working regionally.
KARAMBIR SINGH, REGISTERED NURSE, MARY CORAM UNIT
After completing his graduate year at GV Health’s Kyabram campus, Karambir Singh has worked at GV Health’s Graham St campus in Shepparton for five years.
The registered nurse is based in the hospital’s Mary Coram Unit and said he was motivated to work in the field due to a desire to help others.
“I didn’t get into medicine, so I thought nursing was the next best thing,” he said.
“I did quite well in my course that I got a high enough score to study medicine into the future, but I have enjoyed nursing so much I’m not sure that I will.”
Mr Singh said he studied a Bachelor of Nursing at La Trobe University’s Shepparton campus and is already adding another qualification to his skillset.
“I’m studying palliative care at the moment,” he said.
Currently working four days a week at GV Health’s Graham St campus,
Mr Singh said he tried to pick up extra days at the hospital’s Kyabram campus as well.
He said he loved working for the organisation.
When he is not busy looking after others, Mr Singh said he helped his dad.
“My dad has farms throughout the Goulburn Valley; he keeps me busy,” he said.
DALE LERKE, CLINICAL EDUCATOR, MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
For Dale Lerke, nursing was only meant to be a temporary career.
He had moved to the region with his wife, who was also a nurse, and had plans of opening a private IT firm.
He decided to study nursing as it was the only tertiary qualification he could complete in Shepparton.
After studying nursing and beginning work in the field, Mr Lerke discovered a true passion for the sector.
“I was in IT … and I was a lecturer at RMIT University,” he said.
“It was a big change.”
Now working at GV Health’s acute psychiatric inpatient unit Wanyarra, Mr Lerke said one of the great aspects of nursing was the ability to move into different areas.
He said he discovered mental health was the area for him while completing his post-graduate placement.
Mr Lerke said he now encouraged current nursing students to think about a career in the mental health sector after hearing similar stories from them.