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Men in Nursing School--Setting the Record Straight
by Pam Chwedyk Minority Nurse Writer
In Minority Nurse's Winter 2010 cover story "Men in Nursing School," we interviewed six gender minority nursing students and one recent graduate about their experiences in a female-dominated educational environment and whether or not they have encountered any gender bias from female instructors and classmates. One of these students was Ashley Vasnaik, a junior in the BSN program at University of Portland School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon.
Our article quoted Mr. Vasnaik, who is of East Indian ancestry, as saying: "Some people give me looks like, 'what are you doing here?' I don't know if it's because I'm a male, or I'm not Caucasian, or what." The article went on to say that while Mr. Vasnaik hasn't encountered gender discrimination directly, he has "heard stories from other male students who have." We then quoted him as stating: "[Female instructors'] attitude is 'what do you think you're doing here? Go back to engineering or business, where a man belongs.' They think that nursing is a woman's field and that care needs to be given from a female point of view. Sometimes there's an assumption that any male who enters pediatrics or labor and delivery has an ulterior motive."
After the story appeared, we received the following letter from Mr. Vasnaik. "Since the article was published, I have been invited to speak with the dean and assistant dean of the University of Portland School of Nursing," he writes. "We feel as though my comments were misquoted and, in turn, have put a negative image on the faculty, students and general community of the UP School of Nursing. I would like a retraction of my statements and a chance to put in a more accurate quote. The UP School of Nursing is a very good institution, and this is especially true for men. In 2008, the UP School of Nursing won the American Assembly of Men in Nursing's award for Best Nursing School for Men. Please give me the opportunity to [rectify this situation]."
Minority Nurse sincerely regrets the error. We wish to thank Mr. Vasnaik and the University of Portland School of Nursing for helping us set the record straight. For more information about the UP School of Nursing's commitment to providing a male-friendly learning environment, see our Spring 2009 article "Maximizing Minority Students' Success in Clinicals."