So, TINS. I decided after several years as a nursing assistant, that I wanted to be an RN when I grew up. By the time that things lined up, I had already started working for EMS in Da City. So, I set to knocking off the pre-requisite classes I had not already collected, and waited for my Nursing school application to be processed.
Now, at this time, there were very, very, very few men in Nursing. The school I applied to, a community college, had a decidedly problematic academic tendency among the population from which they drew their students. So, since I had attended Tremendous State University for a couple of years, it seemed that I was a good candidate to handle collegiate level studies. For these reasons, it developed that I was accepted to this school.
In the course of the intake, I had to interview with an admissions officer. We talked about coursework, and finances. She asked me about what financial aid I had lined up. I admitted that I had none, and planned to pay for school through Da City’s tuition reimbursement program, as well as my earnings.
She did not think much of that idea, for some reason. “Mr. McFee, we do not allow our students to work.”
I was surprised. This was, after all, nearly 1980, and I had thought that liberated women, and various movements to remove barriers had changed things. Simply to be certain that I had heard her correctly, I asked her, “Er, ma’am? you do not ‘allow’ your students to work?”
“That’s right, Mr McFee. We do not allow our students to work.”
“Uh, ma’am, you do realize that I am working full time, have a house, and am my own only source of support, right?”
“Mr. McFee, you need to plan for that. We do not allow our students to work while they are in school.”
“Uh, OK. Uh, ma’am, so, where do you live?”
“Why do you ask me that?”
“Well, I support myself and you are telling me that I cannot work. I suppose that means that I’m moving in with you.”
THAT got her attention! “Mr. McFee! You are NOT moving in with me!”
“Hmm. So, how about you document that you have told me that your experience is that students who work while in school do not perform as well as those who do not. You could note that I have acknowledged that warning, and the school’s extensive experience behind that warning. You could write down that I will elect to work while in school, and therefore, any failure on my part will be in spite of your vehement admonitions. Do you think that will work for you? It is a chance that I am willing to take.”
“Uh, Mr. McFee, please sign here, next to my notes to that effect. Thank you. Welcome to Un-Named Community College School of Nursing. You have selected a challenging course of action, both academically as well as because you have chosen to work. Good luck!”
2 thoughts on “Not Fitting The Mold”
I knew a nurse in the mid 1970s who was part of the teaching program at a hospital in Erie, Penn. He was quite emphatic that he was a “nurse” not a “male nurse.” I doubt most people had ever met one like him before. I hadn’t. His very existence didn’t fit the mold.
After serving in the Army I too went to nursing school after working as a Nursing Assistant in a local hospital. I had similar encounters with the local community college nursing admissions and staff. I had to explain on several occasions that I served in Berlin on the checkpoints facing East German guards with weapons. I also manned an MP post on the DMZ in Korea and faced Korean and possible Chinese guards with weapons. That I was not fresh out of high school and faced challenges kids then had no idea of that I was to be treated with respect and that I would work and pay my own way. They wanted me to ride the Student Loan gravy train and be subservient to their authority, wasn’t going to happen. Oh, and I carried concealed all the time I was there in spite of school regs saying no and State Law saying yes.