Men in Nursing 2017 (A-F)


Men in Nursing 2017 (A-F)

Their career choices, meaningful patient experiences and sources of daily inspiration

By Working Nurse
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The number of men entering the field of nursing is greater than ever before. According to the Board of Registered Nursing, one in every five 2016 new graduate nurses in California was a man. For our annual Men in Nursing special report, we interviewed 27 male nurses from throughout Southern California. Here, they talk about what drew them to the profession, how they chose their specialties, how technology has impacted their work and some of the memorable patients they’ve encountered along the way.

Roy Arreola 

Roy Arreola, RN, CEN • Emergency Department Interim Manager • Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, Los Angeles

How did you choose your specialty?

My goal was always to have a career in emergency medical services. I worked for 10 years as an EMT before becoming a registered nurse and was fortunate to be exposed to several different emergency rooms. Working alongside hardworking nurses in a trauma center hospital, I immediately fell in love with ER nursing. The teamwork, compassion and dedication of the nurses was inspiring. I knew then that I would pursue a career in emergency nursing.

Tell us a little about your day-to-day.

For the past three years, I have been a clinical unit supervisor in the emergency department here at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH). In recent weeks, I have stepped forward and assumed the role of ED interim manager. I chose MLKCH because I wanted to be a direct resource for every patient that walked into the emergency room. My goal is to continue building a hardworking, like-minded team that will make an immense, beneficial impact on the community.

How has technology changed the way you work?

At the beginning of my career, paper documentation was coming to an end. It was exciting to be a part of the initiation of hospital-wide electronic medical records. Our technology here at MLKCH allows us to improve healthcare delivery and the well-being of the community.


 Dustin Ashenfelter

Dustin Ashenfelter, RN, BSN, MICN • Director of Emergency & Trauma Services • Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Valencia

Tell us a little about your career path.

Truthfully, I just sort of fell into nursing. When I entered college, my major was sports medicine. One day in class, the instructor went around the room asking what everyone was majoring in; the majority said nursing. It sounded interesting, so I decided to apply for the program. I put myself through nursing school by working at the local hospital. I became a tech in an ED in rural Arizona and that was where I found my calling.

Please share a meaningful patient experience.

One that I will never forget was a patient who was in a skydiving accident. He collided with another jumper and had both legs severed below the knee. He was very scared when he arrived and we did our best to reassure him. He ended up with bilateral below-the-knee amputations. The memorable part was when he walked in several months later with prosthetics to thank the staff who took care of him that day.

What do you know now that you wish you’d learned earlier in your career?

The value of advanced education. When I graduated from my associate degree program, I just wanted to get to work. It took 14 years for me to go back and get my bachelor’s degree. It took another six to go back for my master’s program in management and leadership, of which I am currently finishing my last semester.


David Bailey

David Bailey, RN, MSN, MBA, CCRN-K, NEA–BC, FACHE • Chief Nursing Officer • UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica

What inspired you to become a nurse?

My interest in nursing started in high school, after my father got very sick. While he was in the ICU, an incredibly kind nurse cared for him. She — not the doctors — was brave enough to tell us how serious his condition was. Her compassion and skill made an indelible impression on me. She handled a difficult situation so professionally and kindly.

How did you decide to pursue a leadership role?

After eight years at the bedside as a critical care nurse, I decided to move to nursing leadership so I could be more active in program development and strategic planning. To that end, I pursued an MSN as well as an MBA. I’m not at the bedside, but I oversee more than 1,000 nurses who are. It gives me an opportunity to improve patient care at the organizational level, which is very gratifying.  My passion has been advancing nursing’s role in quality outcome measures. One of the professional highlights of my career was leading an incredibly hardworking staff through the final steps of earning Magnet recognition, which we did last year.

What do you know now that you wished you knew earlier in your career?

The importance of mentors. Earlier in my nursing career, I thought they weren’t necessary, but as I’ve advanced, I’ve completely changed my view. My mentor helps me to recognize different perspectives, encourages my professional growth through activities external to my CNO role and provides a safe space to problem-solve and brainstorm.


Tony Bittner

Anthony Bittner III, RN, ADN • Clinical Nurse IV, Bone Marrow Transplant • City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte

What led you to nursing?

After my service in the Marine Corps, I wanted to pursue a career that helped people. I chose nursing because it allowed me to fulfill that interest and also provided numerous specialty areas to pursue. 

How did you choose your specialty?

When I graduated from nursing school, I thought I would work in the ER or NICU, but a life-changing event in my childhood pointed me in a whole different direction.  When I was 2 years old, my mother passed away of breast cancer within nine months of her diagnosis. She was 32 years old. Cancer stripped me of ever knowing her. I accepted a position on an oncology/med-surg floor to make a difference in the lives of people battling cancer. After working there two years, my wife’s broadcast news career led us to Orlando, Florida, where I began working in my specialty.As a bone marrow transplant nurse, I hope that at the end of the day, I’ve provided a little bit of comfort to patients who are fighting for their lives, like my mother did. 

Please share with us a meaningful patient experience.

One evening, I received a report on a young male patient who had just received a transplant. I immediately noticed something was wrong: He became febrile and his vital signs were not stable. I called the in-house physician and we quickly transferred him to the ICU.Several weeks later, I cared for the same patient again, but this time around, it was his last night at City of Hope. They had both felt he was not going to make it through that evening. He and his wife remembered me and thanked me for saving his life previously. 


Dexter Emoto

Dexter Emoto, RN, ASN • Registered Nurse, Post-Anesthesia Care • Loma Linda University Medical Center

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. I wanted to choose a career where I could help people and make a difference in their lives. Nursing attracted me because it is a profession that ministers to people in need every day. I took a nurse’s aide course to see if I would like the profession and had a great experience. Forty years later, I still love caring for patients. One of the joys of working at Loma Linda University Medical Center is the opportunity to pray for our patients. I offer to pray for the patient before discharge; 99.9 percent say yes.

Tell us a little about your specialty.

I work evenings in the post-anesthesia care unit, recovering and stabilizing postoperative patients. I enjoy the variety of challenges I meet with each patient. With different patients and surgeries, no two nights are alike.

How has technology changed the way you work?

Information is right at my fingertips. If I have a question on a specific medication or surgery, I just look it up on Google. Instead of writing assessments on paper, I now checkmark and tag the item. Oh, how I don’t miss charting by hand! 


Darren Friday

Darren J. Friday, RN, B.S., MICN • Supervising Clinical Nurse I, Emergency Room • High Desert Regional Health Center and LAC+USC, Los Angeles

Tell us about your career path.

My pursuit of nursing began with a nudge from my spouse, who provided constant support and encouragement even though I was a successful nightclub manager at the time. After nursing school, I think my specialty chose me! Working in the ER of a Level I trauma center allows me to put my skills and passion for helping others to work in the most critical cases. As a supervisor, I am able to effect change on a larger scale while utilizing my ER skills on a smaller scale.

How has technology changed the way you work?

The technology available today is like something out of “Star Trek”: workstations on wheels; barcode scanners for patient identification, specimen collection and medication administration; bedside glucose, hemoglobin and other Wi-Fi monitors that automatically upload to the chart. These are remarkable achievements that help us provide safer care to patients.

Please share a meaningful patient experience.

One very emotional experience was a pediatric cardiac arrest. The family provided CPR until paramedics took over and rushed the child to the hospital. I can clearly remember the room and the attending physician comforting the family, knowing that he had a child at home around the same age. It was an emotional code, but the team remained calm and professional. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful, but I took great pride in the compassion and effort demonstrated by the team.

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