Monday, October 12, 2020

My Female Dominated Profession

By Stephanie Julianna

First, I would like to apologize to all the wonderful people who commented on my first regular post here, “Longevity” back on September 4th. I did not see the Comment area at the bottom until my next article. So thank you for your compliments and encouragement. I hope to bring you quality articles that will educate, entertain and just maybe, inspire some to live the life that they have always wished for.

I was basically raised by my older sisters and grandmother. Mom had done her duty as a good spouse and had eventually given Dad a boy four and a half years after the girls and then she was done having children. My oldest sister was 10 years older and my other two sisters were seven years older. One of those two, Lonnie, was actually not a biological sibling and was Chinese, but she became every bit a sister and I loved her dearly.

Whenever any of them were going out the door, my Mom would say, “Take your brother with you.”

By the fall of 1957, my oldest sister entered nursing school at St. Vincent's in NYC, arguably the best nursing school on the East Coast. For me, she became my idol and I wanted to be a nurse just like her. Lonnie entered nursing school in Mount Vernon in '61 and again I made my case for wanting to be a nurse. Needless to say, in those days this was as remote a possibility as ever. The rare men in nursing were usually in the military, but not often found out in the civilian world. Even my uncle, my namesake and a surgeon in Southampton, Long Island, told me I should go for a MD. “Boys don't become nurses.”

Being dragged around by my sisters exposed me to amazing summer days on the beach, as an 11 and 12-year-old surrounded by the sweetest bunch of nursing students you could imagine. Lonnie and I would go to movies or Chinatown in NYC and like my older sister, regaled me with tales from the OR and ER at her hospital. That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a nurse more than anything. Nurses worked directly with their patients and even at that young age, I knew that they were closer to the action than many MD’s. 

Fast-forward to 1991, I had worked my way up to a VP in a company and was feeling unaccomplished in my life except for my marriage and three incredible kids, all in their teens at the time. My wife had returned to college after the youngest started school and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in accounting. By 1991, her salary eclipsed mine by a lot and she was blossoming as a confident woman with a true feeling of self-worth. She always loved accounting and she was living her dream.

That August in ‘91, I was driving to meet a customer and spotted the local community college from the highway. I had already researched it and knew that their nursing program had a great reputation. I got off at the next exit and doubled back to find out more. 

That night I told my wife that I was not happy with where my career path had taken me and I wanted to make a change. I asked her what she thought and she was supportive. But she said this had to be the last career change (I did have a few. LOL), “so think long and hard.”

I asked her what she thought I should do. 

“I think you would make a great nurse.” 

I almost passed out since I had never told her about that dream, ever! With her emotional and financial support over the next three years, I passed the nursing boards and on August 4th, 1994, received my RN.

Little did I know that my career would also fill a huge whole in my trans personality. Now I was working in a profession that required me to tap into all those feminine emotions that I had tucked away for family and personal use. I’d like to say that it was those honest and sensitive feelings that made me a better nurse valued by my nursing partners and patients. 

I will admit that I would have liked to have done the job as my complete self and I did push that envelope to the limit. In the mid ’90’s, I did manipulate my co-workers to dare me to come to work for Halloween as a female nurse. I tried to play my skills down by messing up my wig and telling them that I had a friend in the theater who would help me with the look. But I do think that many smelled a rat. 

My co-worker nurse told me I looked like her friend named “Georgette” and proceeded to call me that for the entire shift. Staff gave me a name tag that said, “Miss Diagnosed, RN.” They had no idea how accurate they were. 

My costume was a hit and both staff and patients loved it. Of course, I also won the costume contest that was held and voted on by the residents on the long-term care side. I worked sub-acute. It was another dream come true, if only for a day to work the shift as my complete self. Sad that it was seen as a costume when I would have loved it to be my everyday wear. Pictures with the dark hair are from that day. 

I actually did crossdress for most of my career, always wearing women's pull up tapered cotton pants, women's scrub tops, white panties, cami’s and always ladies’ white nursing shoes. Actually, I could only get my shoes in the women’s department because I could not get my shoes in the men’s. I wear a men’s 6-1/2 and a women's 8-1/2. I am sure that a few nurses I worked with suspected, but none seemed to care nor judged me and appreciated my care and nursing skills. 

I'm retired now and miss them dearly. The last picture is in my uniform as described with only my scrub top switched out for a decidedly feminine one. Oh, and the hair and makeup. Surprisingly, our CEO made it a requirement for all nurses to wear the lab jacket you see when not doing direct care. They only had women’s cut jackets and the three male nurses were no exception to this rule. When she retired so did that rule.

I had a 25-year career that I am very proud of. I have to say that without my wife’s support it could never have happened. It was life changing and I do miss it even though I have to say that retirement has its pluses. LOL

The moral of the story, never let your dreams go. Dreams can become a reality if you tweak them just right (and work really hard).

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Wearing New York & Company
Wearing New York & Company

Santiago Segura femulated Raffaella Carrá on Argentine television’s Tu cara me suena.
Santiago Segura femulated Raffaella Carrá on Argentine television’s Tu cara me suena.
You can view the femulation on YouTube.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to hear your story and as a long term professional nurse I can empathise with your story.
    I qualified in the 1970’s and would never chose another profession as I get so much job satisfaction from helping people who need care and you cant explain that to anyone who isn’t in the caring professions.
    I had a few fun times being able to femulate at work where one of the hospitals had a tradition for the staff nurses to be the ward sisters on xmas day - so I dressed in accordance with the requirements and was complemented on how good I looked! - some time after I came out to my team and was accepted as one of the girls from then on!
    sadly my current role is based in industry where we use overalls, but cest la vie!
    Hugs from a fellow nurse ( RGN Nurse practitioner ... UK)