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DCC Male Nursing Grads

Three male students – (shown left to right) Brian Woodson of Danville, Benjamin “Ben? Tucker of Gretna, and Jacob New of South Boston – recently earned Associate of Applied Science degrees in Nursing from Danville Community College. The men cited job stability and satisfaction and the desire to help others as their main reasons for pursuing a career in nursing, where males are in the minority.

DANVILLE, VA, June 12, 2015 – Three Danville Community College male nursing graduates are reaping immense rewards with their new career choices. Brian Woodson of Danville, Benjamin “Ben? Tucker of Gretna, and Jacob New of South Boston say the gratification of daily patient interaction is unlike any job satisfaction they have ever experienced. Plus, since there is a shortage of male nurses nationwide, they hope to increase their chances of landing good paying jobs in the field.

James Emerson should know. He is one of two male professors in Danville Community College’s Nursing Program.

“Nursing is a field that is wide open. There is no limit to what you can do,? Emerson says. “The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Emergency Room (ER) are two of the areas where males tend to land.?

Along with boundless opportunities, Emerson adds the nursing field offers a good schedule, good pay, and high job satisfaction from patient interaction. Emerson has worked in the ER, as well as the pediatric ICU at North Carolina Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill, which he describes as “one of the most heart wrenching and heartwarming jobs? he’s ever had.

“Working as an intensive care nurse, you have days when patients are dying, and you have days when they come out on the other side and they are fine,? Emerson notes. “Those days, to me, are rewarding. You touch every patient somehow, some way, every day.?

Woodson, who previously earned a bachelor’s degree in business, says he decided to enroll in the nursing program in the hopes of increasing his job stability. His decision to become a nurse ultimately could increase his earning potential, as well. Registered Nurses earn an average of $65,470 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, Woodson wants to continue to gain more education in the nursing field. He is transferring this fall to Averett University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN) program. After earning his BSN, he plans to work in a pediatric unit.

“I’ve worked several places, and I never really found any of my former jobs fulfilling,? says Woodson. “I really felt like I needed something that I could be proud of and satisfied with at the end of the day. Nursing was everything I thought it would be.?

Nursing also represents a career change for Tucker. He previously earned an Associate of Arts and Science Degree in Science from DCC in 2012. He had plans to become a high school science or math teacher. However, Tucker resolved to become a nurse after going on a medical mission trip in West Africa and observing the impact nurses had on people’s lives. Tucker’s resolve has come to fruition; he plans to start his first job in nursing at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital.

New enrolled in the nursing program shortly after graduating from Halifax County High School and says he has loved it ever since. He believes a career in nursing is part of his life plan. He explains he spotted a nursing textbook on a visit to the scrap exchange in Halifax, and took that as a sign for him to start studying nursing. New aspires to work in a hospital ER after earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree.

Interaction with patients has been a major component of graduates’ experiences in the five semester nursing program. New says the patient interaction made the long hours of working in a clinical setting, studying, and attending class to fulfill the requirements of the program worthwhile.

“I think the most rewarding part of the program is the gratefulness and thankfulness that the patients have for what we do, and the sense of accomplishment and pride that you have,? New says.

Woodson agrees. He recalls his first week of clinicals – giving bed baths to patients.

“That’s something very simple that you can do for somebody, but I felt good that I provided some sort of comfort, however small that may seem,? Woodson adds.

Tucker also says he gained fulfillment from helping others and brightening their days. While serving others is Tucker’s greatest reward, it was a difficult adjustment for him when he first began the program.

“To serve people can be very humbling. It was a challenge, but it’s a challenge that I’ve been able to overcome,? Tucker explains. Until he witnessed male nurses serving others on a medical mission trip, he had never considered a career in nursing because of the stigma attached to being a male nurse.

“I was always close-minded toward being a nurse, because I felt like it was just for women,? Tucker reveals. “There’s really nothing feminine about being a nurse. You have to be strong in many areas – physically, mentally. You have to be able to hold your composure together during tense situations.?

The stigma associated with male nurses is lessening, in part because of the number of male medics in the military, says Emerson, who was once an Emergency Medical Technician in the Coast Guard. New and Tucker say they have observed that patients’ perception of male nurses is different than that of female nurses, and that can be an advantage to them.

“I think there’s a certain presence that a male has in a room that a female may not initially have. Initially for a male, you give a strong sense of safety or security,? Tucker says.

Now is the time to apply for admission to the DCC Nursing Program. Applications for the fall 2015 semester are being accepted until July 1. Applications are available on the DCC homepage ( or at this link: The application can be hand-delivered or mailed to: Nursing Department, c/o Teresa Curran Danville Community College, 1008 South Main Street, Danville, VA 24541. For more information, contact the Nursing Department at 434.797.8512, or click here.


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