Men In Nursing 2022

Men In Nursing 2022

Annual Special Feature

Working Nurse talked to 17 nurses at local hospitals about inspiring moments, exciting specialties, and the hobbies that keep them sane. To see our panel engaging in their hobbies — from mountain climbing to mixing craft cocktails to triathlons — as well as snapshots of their adorable pets, visit the digital flip magazine.


Registered Nurse Mark Aloria stands in from of the logo for MLK HospitalMark Aloria, RN, BSN
Clinical Unit Supervisor, Emergency Room
MLK Community Healthcare, Los Angeles

What do you want people to understand better about men in nursing?

Nurses often become targets of frustration. It’s assumed that we can easily let things go and move on to the next crisis. I wish the public understood that even though we are resilient, we are human too.

Tell us something about your specialty that makes you especially proud.

Emergency nurses must assess patients, prioritize treatments, advocate for patients and respond quickly to emergent clinical situations. We have many responsibilities and wear different hats throughout the day; I once heard my assistant manager describe the ER nurse as a “jack of all trades.” Each day is different, and the nurses must be able to adapt and respond to anything. For that, I’m proud to be part of our ED team.

What do you wish you’d known before you chose your specialty?

Working three 12-hour shifts is extremely tiring. For 12 hours, there’s no downtime and you’re constantly on your feet, running around and saving lives. The number of patients seems limitless, and often, you never actually catch up. After three shifts, I am both mentally and physically exhausted.

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

I recently became a clinical unit supervisor. I am learning valuable leadership, communication and critical thinking skills as I strive to be a better leader for my team.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I enjoy working out in my neighborhood CrossFit gym, going on hikes, cycling with fellow ER nurses and doing Spartan races. I also enjoy AYCE Korean barbecue and drinking (in moderation) at my favorite brewery.


Heain Aung, FNP-C, MSN
Chronic Kidney Disease Nurse Practitioner/Nursing Instructor
West Coast University, Ontario

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

While the belief that nursing is a female-dominated profession has been fading, men who pursue nursing still face gender bias. Nurses are capable of compassion and excellent care, regardless of their gender!

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

When I started my career in the ICU, I had a patient who started slurring her speech in the middle of the night and needed to be taken to CT immediately. On the way there, she asked to hold my hand. I had been so caught up in the urgency of getting her to CT that I forgot to consider how scared she was. Nurses get so busy with our tasks that it’s easy to forget the little things that matter to our patients.

What’s a recent development in your specialty that you find especially exciting or cool?

I find the increasing role of technology exciting. A patient who formerly needed to drive more than 100 miles to see a specialist is now able to see the provider from home, which will go a long way in allowing more people to have access to quality healthcare.

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

In my undergraduate studies, I was able to complete my public health term in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had. Receiving my BSN and my MSN have been some of my proudest moments. I’m looking forward to furthering my education with a DNP.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

When the pandemic began, I picked up golf as a way to relieve stress and stay active.


Tom Barrett, RN
Emergency Department
Redlands Community Hospital

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

After 30 years in nursing, I think the old stereotypes of male nurses are undetectable. Even though men still are a minority in the ED (about 20 percent), I have always felt as an equal to my peers. My fellow nurses are my brothers and sisters.

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

We had a patient who was repeatedly brought into our ED intoxicated. He was foul-mouthed, incontinent and became quite a nuisance with his repeated visits, so the staff would roll their eyes whenever the ambulance crew brought him in. However, after some investigating, I discovered that the patient had lost his son in an accident, which had broken him. He turned to alcohol to relieve his pain and profound sadness, which utterly ruined his life. It taught me not to judge too quickly because someone’s story may run much deeper than you think.

What’s a recent development in your specialty that you find especially exciting or cool?

Occasionally, you have the opportunity to literally save someone’s life. There is no better feeling in the world, let me tell you!

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

I am currently working towards becoming a nurse mentor. With the recent loss of several staff, I’ve felt a need to prepare, guide and educate the newer nurses. By being a mentor, I will be able to pass on the knowledge and experience I’ve gathered during my career.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I love collecting old comics and artwork, gardening and doing card magic.


Luiz De Paula, Jr., RN, BSN, PCCN
Program Manager, Clinical Practice & Education for Telemetry and Medical-Surgical Services
Adventist Health Glendale

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

That it is a profession we are happy to be part of, and we feel honored to serve our communities.

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

When I was a telemetry night shift nurse, I had a patient whose life was nearing the end. It was sad to see that happening and not be able to change the outcome. At the end of my last shift with him, as I introduced the oncoming nurse, he pointed to me with teary eyes and tapped his chest over his heart three times. His sister gave me a hug and thanked me for the care I gave him. That same morning, he passed away. The gratitude the patient and his family displayed made me feel blessed.

What’s a recent development in your specialty that you find especially exciting or cool?

My role allows me to contribute to improvements that affect more than just one nurse or one patient. It is rewarding to know that what I do helps to produce so many positive outcomes.

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

Last year, I obtained my BSN and my PCCN certification. Currently, I am working towards my master’s degree, which I plan to complete within the next year.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I used to play amateur soccer, but injuries prevented me from continuing. Now, I enjoy watching my favorite Brazilian team on TV and teaching my 7-year-old son how to play.


Gerardo R. Echeverria, RN
Staff Nurse, Telemetry Unit
PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

Sometimes, men are perceived as not being caring or gentle, a stigma that dates back to Florence Nightingale. Nonetheless, I think that we should encourage young men to look into nursing because it is a great career choice, regardless of gender.

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

As a new graduate, I lost my first patient, which made me question my own ability. Afterwards, I kept thinking back and wondering whether I had missed any signs or if there was anything else I could have done. Despite this loss, I pushed forward in my goal of providing the best possible care for my patients. That first loss also helped me gain perspective about the value of life.

What’s a recent development in your specialty that you find especially exciting or cool?

Our patients have complex medical conditions, so a patient’s condition can deteriorate at any time, which is challenging. The work is also exciting because there are always opportunities to learn something new.

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Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

I dreamt of becoming a nurse and worked hard to achieve this goal. Becoming a nurse takes a lot of work and requires a caring heart.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I have a vegetable garden, and it brings me joy knowing the birds enjoy my water fountains and shady trees. I am also an avid hiker. About five years ago, I hiked up Mt. Kilimanjaro, reaching an elevation of 19,000 feet.


Pirooz Eslami, APRN, MSN, NP-C, FNP-BC
6th Floor RN Supervisor
California Rehabilitation Institute, Los Angeles

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

Gender is not important in nursing. What is important is patient-centered care, especially in acute rehab, along with kindness!

Tell us the funniest thing that has happened to you as a nurse.

Since I am 6’3” tall, I once frightened an elderly female patient — her facial expression changed whenever I entered the room. However, after I delivered her care, she told the nursing assistant that she was mistaken: “He is a gentle giant!”

What’s something that people commonly misunderstand about your specialty?

Maintaining ethical principles is essential. First, if you can’t help the patient, do them no harm. Second, we must distribute all healthcare justly and evenly, no matter a patient’s ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic class. Also, we need to consider the patient’s autonomy, always discuss treatment strategies with them and respect their wishes.

Tell us about a professional goal you are working towards.

Prior to my nursing career, I spent many years in medical research. Since becoming an RN in 2016, I’ve been committed to furthering my education, earning my BSN, MSN and becoming a nurse practitioner. Later this year, I will earn my DNP.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I play tennis, ride my motorcycle and take trips to the beach.


Joe Greene, RN, DNP, NPD-BC, CEN
Director of Staff Development and Education
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Valencia

Tell us the funniest thing that has happened to you as a nurse.

A woman visiting a friend in the ED brought in a live kangaroo. I approached her to let her know she really couldn’t bring the animal in with her. She said, “Why not? It’s my service animal.” Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are only a few questions you’re allowed to ask about service animals, but I had to know: “What service does he perform?” Without hesitation, she replied, “He’ll kick your butt if I ask him to!”  I couldn’t argue with that.

What’s something that is commonly misunderstood about your specialty?

Most people don’t understand the role of professional development. What the nurse educator is to academia, the nursing professional development practitioner is to hospital training and education. This includes advocating for evidence-based best practices and assessing staff learning needs to develop appropriate training.

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

My proudest moment was completing my DNP in leadership. I always wanted to be an RN, but many other things intervened: military service, marriage, moving for work, children, etc. When I turned 50, it was clear I physically couldn’t practice at the bedside forever, but I couldn’t progress into my second love, training new nurses, unless I went back to school. I entered a BSN program at age 52 and earned my doctorate at age 59.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I ride my bicycle to work most days. When I turned 50, I rode across the U.S. in 50 days, blogging the whole trip while the folks at Henry Mayo charted my adventure on a map. Also, I’ve recently taken up abstract painting.


Ace Ibarrola, RN, BSN, PCCN
Clinical Nurse IV / Relief Charge Nurse
Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

I want people to understand that the nursing profession is a great career opportunity for men, offering stability, flexibility and professional growth. I encourage more men to join the profession and experience the benefits and the joy of being a nurse.

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

Years ago, a patient came in with atrial fibrillation, which required cardioversion. Afterwards, the patient’s young children came to visit him. His 10-year-old son gave his father a big hug and said, “Daddy, your heart is beating fine again.” I handed the son my stethoscope and said, “Here, have this so you can hear your father’s heart even stronger.” The kid’s eyes lit up, and he thanked me. His sister also hugged me and thanked me for taking care of their dad. I went home that day knowing that I had made a difference.

What is something people misunderstand about your specialty?

People may think that telemetry is just another medical-surgical unit, but many of our patients are very sick and require a lot of nursing care. Telemetry nurses are very adaptable, and can readily navigate floating between departments.

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

I am most proud of becoming our hospital’s very first male clinical level IV nurse. I am also proud of my involvement with different nursing committees, and of being involved in our Magnet accreditation during this past year.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I enjoy playing tennis. I am also a proud “Dance Dad” and love to spend time with my family.


Nathan Lai, RN, BSN, MBA
Neurology/Stroke Nurse
Huntington Hospital, Pasadena

Tell us something about your specialty that makes you proud.

The collaboration with all the members of the interdisciplinary team is something I enjoy immensely. Neurology is also a specialty where I learn something new almost every day.

What do you wish you had known before choosing your specialty?

Being a stroke nurse means learning to accept that you may not get to see the patient get better right away. Some stroke patients need additional time for recovery in a skilled nursing facility or an acute rehab unit. I had to learn — like my stroke patients do — to take things one day at a time.

I wish I’d known sooner how important my voice is as a nurse. Sometimes, my patients need encouragement, a good pep talk or someone to celebrate their victories with during their physical therapy session. I’ve learned that as a nurse, I can help the patient to frame their hospital experience, which is often a low point in their lives, in a more positive light.

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

In early 2022, I had the opportunity to co-chair the Exemplary Council, which is part of the Huntington Health professional practice Magnet model. One project that I’m passionate about focuses on mental health and how I can advocate for bedside nurses through evidence-based solutions that promote self-care for bedside staff. During the pandemic, I also went back to school to get my MBA.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I love to travel! I enjoy backpacking, camping and capturing nature through video and photography. I also love playing video games and basketball.


Michael Llanera, RN, BSN
Medical-Surgical Wing
Casa Colina Hospital & Centers for Healthcare, Pomona

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

I wish the public understood that diversity plays an important role in healthcare. I hope to dismantle the idea that any career or specialty is exclusive to any gender or demographic.

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

I had an elderly patient who had to stay with us for an extended period of time. His condition was like a rollercoaster and would change day by day, so our whole hospital was there caring for him. It’s times like this that we become like family to the patient and get to know them more deeply than just the information on their chart.

What’s a recent development in your specialty that you find especially exciting or cool?

Same-day joint replacement surgeries still blow my mind, especially how soon patients can get up and start moving.

Nursing Education

Tell us something that is commonly misunderstood about your specialty.

There’s a misconception that med-surg is not the most appealing specialty, or not a specialty at all. Working in med-surg allows me to practice new skills and gain valuable experience that I don’t think I’d get to the same extent elsewhere.

Tell us about a professional goal you are working towards.

I want to eventually become a nurse practitioner focusing on LGBTQIA+ health and family practice. There is a need for more healthcare professionals specializing in caring for LGBTQIA+ folks, addressing their needs and advocating for equal representation in the care we provide.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I have been a yoga teacher for five years. I enjoy applying the techniques and philosophy I’ve learned in yoga to my everyday life.


Patrick Loney, RN, MBA
Chief Nursing Officer
UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Los Angeles

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

That we are very much like women in nursing. We want to make a difference in the world, love positively impacting patients’ lives and enjoy the science.

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

While rounding on a geriatric medicine unit, I met a 93-year-old woman experiencing her very first hospital admission. She was delightful: charming, funny, tough and inspiring. I asked her the secret of her robust health and she told me she made sure to eat yogurt every morning. I said, “That’s it, yogurt?” After a pause, she said, “No, I just tell people that because it makes them feel good. The real story is that after I became a widow, I had to walk everywhere and worked well past retirement. I am strong because I had to be.” She added, “But, tell everyone the yogurt story — they’ll like that one better.” That’s always stuck with me.

Tell us something about your specialty that makes you proud.

Nurses in inpatient mental health settings are the most resilient, caring, compassionate and humorous people one could ever meet. I’m lucky to work with them every day.

Tell us about something that is often misunderstood about your specialty.

Many people think we have a different mindset than other specialties. We don’t. We treat people with acute and chronic mental illness, using best practices and data. In the past, behavioral health was seen as “different,” but I think that’s changing.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

My wife and I do triathlons together. We just completed a half Ironman in Wisconsin.


Jonathon Morales, RN, B.S.
RN Float Pool
Keck Medicine of USC, Los Angeles

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

That nursing is a challenging and rewarding career choice for men. It’s also an excellent second career option — I came to nursing after 10 years of working as a graphic designer. It was absolutely worth the hard journey.

Share with us a funny moment you’ve had as a nurse.

I once got my scrub top caught on the control stick of a patient’s motorized wheelchair. The chair began to move, and we couldn’t figure out why. I kept stepping back, but the wheelchair continued to follow me all the way across the room. After a soft crash landing against the wall, I realized my scrubs were the culprit. The patient and staff had a good laugh about it, but I was very embarrassed.

Tell us something about your specialty that makes you very proud.

The beauty of being a float pool nurse is that you don’t specialize in one area, but rather pick up and learn skills from all areas. One day, you may be on an ICU stepdown unit, and the next day you could be on the urology or ortho floors. The diversity of experiences is challenging, but very cool.

Tell us about a professional goal you’re working towards.

Nursing allows me the room to do the other things I love. One of those things is starting a small business with my wife. We are living out that goal alongside our primary careers, which has been very rewarding.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I have built up quite the amateur bar at home, and enjoy trying new spirits and cocktail recipes.


Dayne Nishijima, RN, MSN, PCCN
Cardiovascular, Stroke
Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

That men can offer emotional support to patients just as much as our female counterparts can.

Tell us about a funny moment you’ve had as a nurse.

I established a great rapport with a particular patient and his family during his hospital stay. One day, his grandmother visited him and asked me in Spanish if I was married. The patient translated for me, and I said I was married. The grandmother said she was disappointed and wished she was younger! We all burst out laughing. The great thing is that I made such a difference in this patient’s hospital stay that he had me nominated for a DAISY Award.

Tell us about something in your specialty that makes you proud.

I find it really exciting that I get to focus on and become an expert in cardiovascular nursing.

What is something that is commonly misunderstood about your specialty?

Our unit sees a lot of patients with congestive heart failure, and I wish there was a greater understanding that treating this chronic illness takes more than just “fixing” a patient in the hospital and sending them home. We need to help patients better manage their illness to prevent frequent hospital admissions.

Tell us about a professional goal you are working towards.

I am proud of completing my MSN in nursing leadership and administration. I am currently working towards earning my AACN certification in cardiac medicine.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

Prior to becoming an RN, I was a personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder. Working out helps me relieve stress, keep in shape and prevent injuries.


Henry Sacre, RN, BSN, PHN
Inpatient Telemetry/Med-Surg
Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

When I was a home health nurse, I went to a patient’s home for a routine admission. He was an older gentleman and very friendly. He offered me coffee and snacks, and we had a wonderful conversation, but as we were talking, I gradually realized that he wasn’t my patient! I apologized, but he told me he was delighted for the company. I suggested he go to the local senior center, since he was lonely. He took my advice, which enabled him to get out of the house more and arrange for meal deliveries. I was so happy I could assist someone who needed it, and all because I entered a wrong number into my GPS.

Tell us something about your specialty that makes you proud.

In a telemetry/med-surg unit, nurses often have to reposition their patients, which can put a strain on our backs. My hospital has ceiling lifts and air taps, a device that inflates a sheet underneath a patient to make repositioning easier. I’ve become a champion on our unit for safe patient handling, teaching my colleagues and fellow nurses to protect themselves from future injuries.

What do you wish you had known before choosing your specialty?

After I started working bedside, I was hospitalized after an accident and became a patient for the first time in my life. Since then, I have understood that no matter how stressed I am, it is not as bad as what my patients are going through.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

Swimming is a passion of mine. I am a member of several local swim teams, and I swim every day before work.


Joe J. Sanchez, RN, MSN, CCRN-K
Administrator on Duty
Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

About ten years ago, a colleague gave me some feedback about something inappropriate I’d said in public in the ICU. The feedback saddened and angered me, but I learned an invaluable lesson: You will always regret saying an unkind thing out of anger or frustration, but you will never regret something said out of kindness and compassion. Confrontation is uncomfortable, but out of it comes new thoughts and ideas. This colleague is now someone I am proud to call a friend.

Tell us something about your specialty that makes you proud.

Recently, I had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. to advocate for federal legislation that could significantly improve the safety and work environment for all healthcare staff, and also improve vital access to healthcare. I am honored to be in a position to have such a profound impact.

What do you wish you had known before you chose your specialty?

I wish I had understood sooner that leadership is an entirely different skillset from bedside care. Because I was a knowledgeable clinician, leaders at the time assumed I would be a good leader, but I tripped and fumbled many times while working my way up the ladder of various leadership roles.

Tell us about a professional goal you are working towards.

I am currently participating in a leadership fellowship with the American Organization of Nursing Leaders, which has connected me with other leaders to share ideas, experiences and practices. This experience has fed an appetite I had not previously recognized: to nurture my relationships with my nursing colleagues — not just from my organization, but throughout the entire country.


Jason Snow, RN, BSN, MICN
Specialty Clinical Educator, Emergency Department
Adventist Health Simi Valley

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

That all individuals have a place in nursing and healthcare, striving to improve the health and wellness of our communities.

Please share with us a profound moment you’ve had as a nurse.

During these last nine years in the emergency department, I have assisted in educating and training dozens of nurses. I recently responded to a Code Blue situation in our ED. The code was already underway and was being run excellently by a group of my former trainees; they did not need my help at all. It was an utterly amazing feeling.

What’s something that people misunderstand about your specialty.

Emergency nursing is one of the most complex areas in healthcare. We constantly deal with life and death situations such as severe injury, trauma, critical illnesses and complex procedures. However, just as often, we work with patients and families on a more personal and social level, assisting the psychiatric population; addressing homelessness, alcohol and drug dependency and all forms of abuse; and dealing with many other social and medical situations that may arise. The emergency department is the catch-all.

Tell us about a professional achievement you are working towards.

I am currently working towards my master’s degree in nursing, possibly with a focus on education. I’m also considering becoming a critical care nurse practitioner.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

Depending on the month or my mood, I have several hobbies that I pursue, including exercising, hiking and other outdoor activities, traveling, riding my motorcycle and making music.


Jesus Velazquez, RN, CNOR
Cardiac and Vascular Surgery
Adventist Health White Memorial, Los Angeles

What do you want people to better understand about men in nursing?

I love the nursing profession with a passion. There’s tremendous satisfaction in working with our patients to help them live healthier lives.

Please share with us a funny moment you’ve had as a nurse.

One time during surgery, the surgeon performing the operation accidentally lost his pants. His scrub pants literally slipped down to his ankles. Despite the wardrobe malfunction, the surgery was a success.

What’s a recent development in your specialty that you find especially exciting or cool?

Robotic surgery here is really impressive. I’ve learned how to use the da Vinci robot, and have witnessed the improved outcomes it provides for our patients.

What do you wish you had known for you chose your specialty.

I’m a lot more involved with health education more than I expected. Many patients need instruction on how to prepare for surgery and how they can take better care of themselves.

Tell us about your proudest professional achievement.

Back in 1979, I was working in housekeeping in a hospital. When I saw what the nurses were doing in surgery, I knew that was the career for me. It took several years to put myself through nursing school, but I have now been practicing nursing for 34 years. I am grateful to God and the many people who helped me along the way.

Do you have any hobbies that help you blow off steam?

I exercise on the stationary bike every day and play chess. On the weekend, I take my wife out to dinner and shopping.


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