One man and 247 women
August 21, 2004 -- Today the Star (Malaysia) ran Olivia Lee's helpful "Francise proud to make nursing his profession," an article about the lone male diploma recipient at the graduation ceremony of Puteri Nursing College in Kuala Lumpur. Francise Maria Pillai said it was challenging to be the only male student among 247 females, but said that his classmates were supportive.
According to the piece, Franchise started working at Ipoh's Fatima Hospital in 1992 as a nurse's aide, then became an assistant nurse, but had to take an "18-month conversion programme" in order to become a staff nurse. The 40-year-old reported no discrimination at work or at the college, saying that "the girls took care of me. We studied together and there was a lot of teamwork." The piece noted that there was a perception that nursing was "dirty," but that Francise stated that its "messy" aspects were just part of the job. It also quoted him as explaining that it's "not an easy job. Not everyone can be a nurse as nurses have to be professional and care for patients regardless of how difficult they can be at times."
Of course, we wish the piece could have reported a higher percentage of male students at the Nursing College than the 0.4% Francise represents, but we salute his tenacity and broadmindedness, and hope that he serves as an example to others.
See Olivia Lee's article "Francise proud to make nursing his profession" in the August 21, 2004 edition of the Malyasian Star.