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Nursing no place for gender stereotypes

Photo: Luke Yokota
For Luke Yokota, a career in nursing wasn’t always on the cards.

In fact, initially, Yokota wanted to become an engineer.

“My original call into nursing didn’t start at an early age nor did I think I would ever want to be a nurse.

“When I was a child many other professions came to mind before nursing. Some were quite the opposite, I wanted to be in construction.

“My childhood aspiration was to be a civil engineer. Ever since I was young I had the greatest fun with Lego. I used to build late at night when I was little, my mum recalls I didn’t want to sleep when I received my first Lego set.

“Life went on and I continued to love to draw, build and play.

In high school, Yokota enrolled into classes such as advanced mathematics, physics and engineering.
“Through high school I had convinced myself that I wanted to be a civil engineer and was positioning myself in the best position to achieve this goal, I had support from my teachers, friends and family.”

But it was also during that time, when young adults are forced to consider their futures, that Yokota began hearing stories about nursing that resonated with him.

“I started to hear nurses are incredible people. They support people, are with people in the both the hardest moments and most joyful moments in their life.

“My interest peaked and I started to investigate.”

None of Yokota’s family members were medical health professionals, nor did he spend much time in hospital as a child, so his knowledge of nursing was limited.

“It took me some time to put it all together and even what I thought was a nurse in the early days has been superseded by what I know today.

“During the same time, my interest further increased with nursing when my grandfather went into care.

“I would often visit him in his aged care home down the road from where we lived. Instantly I decided to volunteer. From my experience of volunteering at the nursing home my admiration for the profession grew.”

After taking a gap year, Yokota told his grandfather than he was about to forge a career in nursing.
“At first my grandfather was in disbelief and surely assumed it was a joke and started laughing.

“He couldn’t rectify a man wanting to be a nurse based on his beliefs and life experience.

“This shook my confidence as up until this point I hadn’t really received any negative feedback.

“However, with conviction and gentle support of others I continued with my choice of profession.”

After completing some hospital, age care and community placements the reality that Yokota would soon be a registered nurse and have the responsibility to care for individuals began to sink in.

“As a new registered nurse, I was very fortunate to be part of a graduate nursing program.

“From there I found further insight into the fine intricacies of modern health care.

“I have been invited to participate in working groups which address the change required for health to remain relevant and accessible.

“These experiences have shown me that nursing is a profession that has an appetite for change and a profession for the future.

“Nurses see change is needed within our health care system and they are willing to be the agents of change.

“There is no contesting that there is such a huge diversity in nursing, from nurse practitioners, paediatric nurses, nurse researchers, nursing mangers, equipment specialists.

“This is why I continue to be a nurse and have plans to continue for many years to come as long as the profession and patients will have me.”

Yokota says he would encourage anyone – man or woman - to look beyond the traditional framing of nursing and see its translation into modern health care, love for people and willingness to challenge the status quo.

“I am very proud to be a part of the nursing profession.

“During my career as a nurse I have never looked back.

“Willing to give it my all, be with people and support them as much as possible.”

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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications (www.stellacomms.com) and a children's author.