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Yes, They Are Nurses And Yes, They Are Men
Date Posted: 29/May/2018
Male nurses face the same kind of judgment, even discrimination, females seem to face in just about every other profession.
 
When Justin Tuell, Josh Lamarr and RW Collett went through nursing school, they had professors pull them aside, remind them Florence Nightingale didn't approve of male nurses and tell them they didn't have what it takes. When they enter a room, on the job, patients assume they're the doctors, or people wonder openly why they couldn't finish medical school. Many times, they're asked to move the heavier patients or quell the more combative ones.
 
But they have an answer for all this angst. They call it the Bro Row.
 
Even the name is inherently sexist. Imagine, said Lamarr, 31, if they said they worked with a bunch of chicks.
 
But they've embraced the name. They love the fact they have other male nurses in the Intensive Care Unit at North Colorado Medical Center, where they work 12-hour shifts that start at either 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. They hunt together, laugh with (and at) each other and support each other's hobbies, such as Collett's beer brewing that grew into him just opening the Tilted Barrel Brew Pub in Loveland. The two bet Collett, 37, they couldn't bring 100 employees of Banner Health to his opener. When he gladly lost that bet, Collett had to shave his beard.
 
"You definitely get to lower your guard a bit," Tuell said. "There's not a whole lot that Josh could say that would insult me."
 
That's important because intensive care is not for the weak. You see some gross and intense stuff, they said, and many patients die. It helps to have someone to go to.
 
Tuell, 31, a nurse since 2012, may have started the club, if that's what it is, and came up with the name. He got into nursing because of his mother and grandmother, who were nurses, and his father, who had a stroke when Tuell was 16, and told him to use his brains, not his brawn. That seemed like bad advice at the time, given Justin looks about as big as a grizzly, but his father was proof bodies break down, and brains, most of the time, do not.
 
Lamarr wanted to be a paramedic, but he became disenchanted with dropping off the patients at the door.
 
"As a nurse, you see it all the way through," Lamarr said. "That's what drew me to the ICU. You are the last stand."
 
All three love that part about nursing. Physicians have 40 patients, Lamarr said, and they don't get much time with them, even if they try to know all their names. But the nurses only have a few at a time, usually up to four in a shift, and they are there to advocate for their patients' care. Many times, they will even suggest things to the doctors based on the time they spend with the patients.
 
"I know that every day I go to work," Collett said, "I have the potential to be a difference maker."
 
And yet society still grapples with the idea of male nurses, Lamarr said, even if there's such a shortage of them they tend to get into nursing school easier. Less than 10 percent of nurses are men.
 
That's why it's so cool, so refreshing, to see the ICU have nearly equal the amount of men as women, they said.
 
"It's a privilege to not be the minority on the shifts all the time," Lamarr said.
 
They enjoy working with women, however, especially those on the NCMC staff, and they believe the women on staff treat them as equals.
 
But that doesn't mean the Bro Row isn't above supporting each other or leaning on each other a bit more than they would otherwise. They think about that bet they made with Collett, and while it was fun to see him shave his beard down to skin that hadn't been exposed in years so his own kids didn't recognize him, Lamarr and Tuell did it to support Collett, as well.
 
That's how they've learned how to be in a minority. They've bonded together, like most minorities, until they feel major.
By Dan England | Greeley Tribune

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