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May 2, 2017

How one father-son duo is breaking nursing stereotypes

Daily Briefing

A father and son in Florida have a passion for nursing—so they are going to school together, Teresa Stepzinski reports for Florida Times-Union.  

Evan Frisbee, 19, recently graduated from high school, and his father, William, is a Marine Corps veteran. Now, both of them are nursing students at St. Johns River State College—the first father-son duo to be enrolled at the school at the same time. Evan is in his first semester, and his dad is in his second.

William—who is also married to a nurse—said he is attracted to nursing because it is a way to give back to the community. "As a nurse you make an impact, plain and simple," he said.

Evan voiced a similar sentiment, saying that he was attracted to the profession because he loves caring for other people. "It's very much a calling ... It becomes your life," he said. "It's very much a personal thing. Because it's difficult and it's really taxing to yourself."

The road to nursing

William said he first started thinking about becoming a nurse when he was in the Marines and he saw fellow service members, who were field medics, treating patients. "I watched them do some amazing things, and I picked up my inspiration there," he said.

Later, he married a nurse, which he doesn't think is a coincidence. "Nurses just kept coming into my life. It was like a calling," he said. When he had the resources to go back to school, he leapt at the chance.

Meanwhile, Evan started thinking about nursing while he was a maintenance worker at a local nursing facility. "He got to know the patients, especially those suffering from mental health issues," Stepzinski reports. Evan said watching nurses care for patients—or even just listening and talking to them—got him interested in nursing. But his biggest inspiration, he said, is his mother's work as a nurse.

A changing profession

Patricia McAnnally—a 40-year veteran RN, who is their instructor at the college—said the program is demanding. According to Stepzinski, the school has a strong reputation and an unusually high proportion of its graduates pass their licensing exams. "If you don't have the support of ... your family or your friends, then you're not going to make it," she said.

According to McAnnally, Evan and his father aren't just good students—they can also serve as examples to men who are thinking about joining the historically female profession. "Men face a clear hurtle in nursing, even today, that of gender stereotyping," McAnnally said. "But many men value a career that is relationship-oriented. This is the nursing profession" (Stepzinski, Florida Times-Union, 4/17).

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