Dr. Jonas Nguh, Academic Department Chair, BSN Program, Kaplan University, has been a nurse for 15 years, working his way up the nursing ranks from a certified nursing assistant to registered nurse and doctoral degree from Walden University in Public Health. He is passionate about his work and strives to bring more male minority nurses into the profession.
Today he shares his career path and insights on being a male nurse.
What made you decide to go into the nursing field?
Nursing offers a wide variety and broad career opportunities. From patient care, to information technology, to utilization review, education, policy and even research, nursing offers a path for different skills and concentrations. Nursing is one of those healthcare careers where employment will always be found as it is not only limited to caring for sick patients.
What inspired you?
I went into nursing following the advice and accomplishments of family who are also nurses. I saw what they were able to accomplish and the stability and career options they had.
What has been your career path?
I have worked in all the various categories of the nursing profession. I started out as a certified nursing assistant, then progressed to a licensed practical nurse, and then became a registered nurse. I value this path because it makes me a better and more informed nurse, and I can relate to nurses at all the different levels of practice.
What led you to where you are today?
My goal was always to obtain a leadership role where I would use my skills and knowledge to improve practice. I realized that in order to do so, advanced education was required, so I continued my education past the bachelor’s level to a master's and doctoral level. I am now part of the conversation that shapes and influences nursing practice, and through my role at Kaplan University, nurses directly.
Describe your current position and what impact you have as a nurse in your current role.
My current role functions primarily to maintain and improve the quality of education being delivered to BSN prepared nurses at Kaplan University School of Nursing. I oversee their educational preparation and address academic issues and needs in compliance with regulatory and professional standards.
Have you had any issues related to being a minority nurse?
One of the big issues that I am passionate about and continue to work on is the need for an increase in the number of men entering the profession. Nursing has traditionally been identified as a female occupation and, presently, there is a lot of emphasis to change this image. Men are a minority in the profession, accounting for less than six percent of nurses according to some statistics. African American men in particular are underrepresented. My goal is to work to remove such stereotypes and let the public see that nursing is a viable profession that offers not only stability, but growth and enrichment for all who have the compassion to become a nurse.
What general advice do you have for other minority nurses?
My advice would be that minority nurses should not be afraid to try new opportunities. It is human nature for people to stay in their comfort zone and with what they are familiar. However, as minority nurses, in order to break those barriers, it is incumbent upon us to take those first steps and venture out, so that others might follow.
Denene Brox is a freelance writer based in Kansas City. She writes about health, careers and business.