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Student Spotlight

July 2014 Stellar Students - Tyler Vang

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Meet Tyler Vang, a ‘non-traditional’ nursing student at the University of  Wisconsin- Oshkosh, College of Nursing. At first, Tyler did not consider nursing as a career, but influences throughout his life led him to the realization that nursing was the profession for him.  In this article, Tyler shares his journey, and the motivating factors that lead to his decision to pursue nursing as a career.

“To be honest, I wanted to be a chef but what changed my mind to become a nurse was the influence of my older sister.” My sister pursued a nursing career, but was unable to continue due to early marriage. She is the hardest worker I've ever known, and it is understandable that she wanted to focus more on her family rather than continuing a nursing career.

My sister’s influence peaked my interest in nursing, but what reinforced that decision was when I began working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). I started out working as a CNA for four years. The work is challenging but the rewarding thing about the job is the gratification from the residents. There are a limited number of tasks CNAs are capable of completing and I wanted to do more to help out the residents. This was the deciding factor for me to continue my education and become a nurse.

When Tyler thinks about the need for diversity in nursing, he feels the first image that generally comes to mind when one hears the word ‘nursing’ is probably of a women. However, there is a growing interest among males in the profession that has the potential to change the face of nursing.  “I believe the number of men in nursing is slowly growing. As a freshman at UW Oshkosh College of Nursing, I quickly became aware of the small number of male nursing students compared to the female nursing student population”.  Traditionally, nursing has been a female-dominated profession, which is one of the reasons men do not pursue nursing. Tyler feels there may be an assumption that becoming a ‘male nurse’ will trigger criticism and ridicule from others.  But as he soon found out, “as I progressed through the semesters, I started to notice more male nursing students as incoming freshmen. And I think it is great that more men are deciding to pursue a nursing career. Men are just as compassionate as women, and should not be afraid of pursing nursing as a career.”

The choice for Tyler hasn’t come without challenges.  “My acceptance to the College of Nursing took five semesters. I wasn’t accepted on my first try.  This is because I was juggling a job and school during my freshman, sophomore, and beginning of my junior year. Therefore, it took longer be accepted into the nursing program.  I think there is a stereotype that males automatically get accepted. Everyone, including men, worked hard to be accepted into the program.

Tyler’s advice for other nursing students is simple: “My best advice for other students who are pursing degrees in nursing is to never give up. If you work hard, you can achieve it. More importantly, be sure to take advantage of any resources available from your campus.”

Like many students, Tyler’s greatest challenge was the science classes. “The biggest challenge for me entering as a pre-nursing student was the biology class. I come from a small town and my high school did not offer many biology classes.” This meant coming to college as a pre-nursing student, he had a hard time understanding the material. Tyler’s strategy was to take advantage of the many resources on campus. “UW-Oshkosh offers many available resources that I took advantage of, such as supplementary instruction and tutors. By using these resources and applying myself, I did well on my biology classes and other classes, and I was accepted into the College of Nursing at UW-Oshkosh.” 

It is obvious that Tyler is a very resourceful young man, which is an important attribute for anyone in the nursing profession, and as a future nursing leader. We wish him all success and welcome him into the profession as a much needed addition to diversity in the Wisconsin nursing workforce!

Article submitted by WCN Board member, 

Terrie Garcia, MEd, RN
Project Beyond Coordinator
Marquette University College of Nursing

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