Factors Affecting Diversity in Nursing Program

By Sierra Kish
Jambar Contributor

A junior in the nursing program said he chose nursing because it gives him the ability to make a difference.

Giovanni Bruno, junior nursing major at Youngstown State University, has been around the health care field since he was young. His parents both work in health care, and he has had his own experience in the field by going through clinicals, which are internships for students in the nursing program. 

“When I was little, I wanted to help my parents in the health care field, but I didn’t know what to do. Nursing gives you the ability to make a difference,” Bruno said.

According to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau study, the number of male registered nurses has more than tripled since 1970, rising from 2.7% to 9.6%. Also, the number of male licensed practical and vocational nurses has more than doubled, rising from 3.9% to 8.1%.

Nancy Wagner, professor and chair of the nursing department at YSU, said she sees the diversity in the program.

“We have males and females in the classes, and it is a great thing to see,” Wagner said. 

In nursing, there are a lot of different situations that can happen, and a nurse has to be prepared for all of them. 

Rocco Core, senior nursing major, said nursing is a lot of hard work. 

“A lot of people see nursing as a high-paying job, and that’s why they get into it, but it’s a lot of hard work. It takes a certain person to work in the field,” Core said. 

Bruno explained that people skills are traits nurses must have. 

“I see a lot of nurses that are just there for the paycheck. It’s the little things that people in a hospital will remember. Just, like, a simple gesture of ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ can go a long way to a patient,” he said.

Wagner said a love for education is just as important as caring for patients.

“You have to have a lot of care and passion. We would be nothing without the medicine and science behind it,” she said.

Wagner said the field is changing to accommodate the changes in medicine.

“There is a lot more that you can study now with technology changing. You can be a nurse anesthetist, cardiac care nurse, critical care nurse, nurse practitioner, etc.,” she said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, female nurses working full time year-round earn 91 cents for every dollar male nurses earn; in contrast, women earn 77 cents to the dollar men earn across all occupations.

For students in the nursing program, GPA is important to employment, and Wagner said that GPA is still a significant factor.

“GPA is a big factor with nursing students because the curriculum for nursing is set to how it is for a reason. There’s no real big wiggle room. However, I do think this is changing into more hands-on training in the classroom,” Wagner said.

Core is working with the Cleveland Clinic at the Akron General Medical Center as an intern nurse technician. He works with patients and staff to get hands-on training. 

Core explained why he thinks hands-on training is more important than GPA: “Somebody could be a bad test-taker but be the best person for the job. In my experience, somebody with a high GPA doesn’t necessarily know how to complete tasks or how to work with a patient. The GPA and hands-on training needs to go hand in hand.”

There is a pre-nursing program at YSU that leads to a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Also, if the student is already a registered nurse, there is a registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in the nursing program.