American Assembly of Men in Nursing comes to Emory

Peter Schindler 16G is raising awareness about men dedicated to the nursing profession.

By Kerry Ludlam
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Peter Schindler

Peter Schindler 16G is a candidate in the School of Nursing family nurse practitioner nurse-midwifery program.

As an active kid growing up in Wisconsin, Emory School of Nursing’s graduate student Peter Schindler 16G had his share of bumps and bruises, whether due to sports or just playing with friends. But what stands out to him aren’t the impressive scrapes or even the colorful casts.

“What I remember is that with all of the visits I had to the hospital or the doctor’s office, the nurses always showed me such kindness,” Schindler recalls.

From those experiences, Schindler knew he wanted a career in health care. He began to consider nursing, which garnered a little skepticism from his family.

“I reached a point where I thought, ‘who cares what people think?’ ” says Schindler. “I’m smart enough, I love science, I enjoy taking care of others, and I’ve always enjoyed the interaction with nurses. So nursing became my career.”

Though the number of male nurses has grown in the past several years—a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau study showed that the number of male registered nurses rose from 2.7 percent to 9.6 percent from 1970 to 2013—Schindler, like other men in nursing, reports that a certain stigma still exists around being a male nurse. With that in mind, he set out in 2013 to create an Emory chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing (AAMN).

With the help of fellow student Daniel Terry Stec 16N (family nurse practitioner–nurse-midwifery program), Schindler not only launched the Emory chapter but also attended the AAMN’s annual conference.

“I was able to sit down between sessions and have really productive conversations with leaders in the field whom I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” he says.

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
With the help of faculty adviser/assistant clinical professor and family nurse practitioner Clint Shedd, the School of Nursing’s AAMN chapter aims to raise awareness and foster acceptance of diversity in nursing.

“We want to create a supportive atmosphere to really discuss the issues in nursing, whether they’re clinical or social in nature,” says Schindler. “Men are still a minority in nursing, so it’s nice to have a forum to talk about issues and how to recruit men in the profession.” 

As they plan for the future, Schindler and his fellow AAMN members have a goal in mind.

“My personal hope is that we can get a program together where we can go to local schools and talk to high school men and women about the nursing profession,” he says. “I wish I’d had a role model like that—someone to say, ‘I’m a guy, this is what I do and I love it.’ There’s nothing to feel strange about if you love what you’re doing.”