Northern Illinois University recently received the “2017 Best Nursing School for Men in Nursing Award” from the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN) as for its commitment to preparing men to be nursing leaders. Since graduating its first male nurse in 1968, NIU has been at the forefront of educating with equity.
Today, men represent 14 percent of the undergraduate nursing class and 12 percent of the graduate students. Male nursing faculty have quadrupled in three years. To further foster an inclusive learning environment, the school hosts a vibrant chapter of AAMN – Northern Prairie Alliance – which hosts activities, community service events and speakers. The NPA also offers nurse mentorships to male nursing students. NIU now boasts over 300 male nursing school alumni.
NIU College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Derryl Block said the AAMN recognition acknowledges the work the nursing program is doing to encourage men in nursing, and confirms the nursing school’s excellent reputation.
“Here at NIU, we are fostering positive role models for men in nursing. This is reflected in our faculty, staff and our curriculum,” Block said. “In order to fill the health care needs of the future, we will need to educate both men and women for careers in nursing.”
NIU Assistant Professor of Nursing Cristan Sabio said NIU’s program is challenging, and that’s exactly what students need – especially male students who will graduate into a job market at an advantage. Because the field is female-dominated, male applicants are a sought-after commodity. “If you are a male nurse and don’t get a position, I’d be surprised,” Sabio said.