Men In Nursing 2020

Men in Nursing 2020

Called to the Front Lines During a Pandemic

COVID-19 has disrupted healthcare as never before, and nurses of all specialties have seen their practice and daily lives turned upside down. One thing we know is that when times get tough, nurses get tougher.

For Working Nurse’s annual focus on Men in Nursing, we asked 25 nurses across Southern California to share their biggest coronavirus challenges, the inspiring moments of heroism they’ve witnessed and their hopes for a post-pandemic world. (For the latter, check out the MIN Roundtable below.)

Thank you to the exceptional nurses who shared their thoughts and insights.

Men in Nursing Interviews:

Peter Abbott, San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital

Aaron Acquisto, Valley Presbyterian Hospital

Thomas Bennett, PIH Health Whittier Hospital

Ricardo Alan De Barros, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital

Devon Denholm, Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare

Martin Espina, PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital

Michael Estona, West Coast University

John Ferrer, L.A. Care Health Plan

Adam Fronczek, UCLA Medical Center

Delsean Hart, Adventist Health Simi Valley

Jesse Lopez, Dignity Health California Hospital Medical Center

Zack Lott, Redlands Community Hospital

Januar Ma, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center

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Michael Negrete, PIH Health Downey Hospital

Justin Ocampo, Inland Empire Health Plan

Bill Paige, Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center

Jesse Poon, Children’s Hospital of Orange County

William P. Raymundo, Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital

Renato P. Regalado, Methodist Hospital of Southern California

Erik Rodarte, Huntington Hospital

Steven Soung, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital

Claude Stang, Cedars-Sinai

Grady Williams, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

Tad Worku, Loma Linda University Health

Michael Zunde, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center



What Are You Most Looking Forward to in a Post-Pandemic World?

We asked each member of our group what they’re anticipating most when the pandemic has finally run its course.

Unsurprisingly, respondents are eager to reconnect with the friends and family from whom many have been separated for months. “I find that for me, there really is no substitute for physical proximity,” says Thomas Bennett. “I am looking forward to social gatherings, to having a beer with a friend.”

Erik Rodarte echoes those sentiments: “I am most looking forward to ‘social closeness’ as opposed to ‘social distancing,’” he says.Others are looking forward to a much-needed vacation. “Personally, I want to be able to travel again. I never knew what ‘burned out’ really meant until these past months,” says Januar Ma. “So many trips and plans were cancelled and postponed because of the pandemic,” adds Bill Paige. “A ski trip to Mammoth sounds pretty wonderful!”

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Changed by COVID-19

Many respondants hope the public will take to heart the infection control guidelines the pandemic has taught, leading to what Adam Fronczek optimistically calls “a happier, cleaner and healthier society post-COVID-19.”

“Being mindful of handwashing, covering your mouth and sanitizing frequently touched areas are all simple steps to prevent the spread of infection,” notes Michael Zunde. “We could see a much less severe cold and flu season if everyone practiced these acts of hygiene.”

Some respondents also expressed hopes that the pandemic will draw new attention to other areas of population health. “I hope that after this crisis, individuals better understand the importance of preventive medicine,” says John Ferrer. “I strongly believe that routine health screenings and vaccinations are necessary to prevent future pandemics and enable communities to thrive.”

Devon Denholm hopes that the dialogue about the psychological impact of COVID-19 will help to end “the stigma that surrounds mental health.”

Grady Williams is excited about the possibilities for telemedicine, which the pandemic has moved into the spotlight. “I hope this technology can be used to expand access to care, improve management of acute or chronic conditions and reduce unnecessary ER visits,” he says.

Delsean Hart hopes that if current research efforts yield a COVID-19 vaccine in the near future, there will be “a similarly herculean effort to find cures or vaccines for other diseases.”

The Next Crisis

Not everyone is so confident COVID-19 will be conquered.

“I personally believe that COVID-19 will not be a thing of the past, but is something we will have to continue to manage seasonally or year-round,” warns Jesse Lopez. Martin Espina is hedging his bets. “While COVID-19 may eventually see an end, I don’t think pandemics will ever become a thing of the past,” he says.

Ricardo Alan De Barros hopes “that our community learns to better prepare for another pandemic, and that in the future, people do not panic and hoard toilet paper and water, putting the population at even greater risk.”

Some respondents hope the lessons of this pandemic will lead to significant systemic changes. “Sometimes, to improve a system, you must first test its limits and find out where the weaknesses lie,” says Mike Estona. “I hope this horrible situation results in lasting improvements not only to the healthcare field, but also to the supply chain we rely upon for critical medical supplies.”

Aaron Acquisto takes a more philosophical position. “I would like to see humankind emerge with a much greater sense of connection,” he says. “Stop and greet someone, say hello, wave or provide a helpful gesture or compliment. These are things that society needs more of: compassion and positivity in action!”

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