Landon Moorehead, 22, is in his first semester of Santa Fe College’s two-year nursing program.
“It’s pretty challenging, but it’s exactly what I expected,” said Moorehead, who also works as a server at Olive Garden in addition to his full-time studies. “It’s a lot of fun being in an actual program instead of just taking classes. It’s not like it’s easy to get in, but once you’re in, you know you’re on a path to success.”
Health care careers are a quick route to a lifetime of rewarding, high-paying work, but Moorehead is one of just a few African American males enrolled in nursing — or in any of Santa Fe’s health sciences programs.
“About one quarter of all of our nursing students are males, and one in two students in radiography and respiratory care are men. But of those, only a handful are African American,” said Scott Fortner, health sciences counselor.
“We have a shortage of African American men applying to and entering our training programs, yet these same programs lead to careers with outstanding salaries and opportunities for advancement,” he added.
Santa Fe is offering a special forum, Healthcare Opportunities for African American Men, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18 in the Health Sciences Annex (Building WA), room 104, at the Northwest campus, 3000 NW 83rd St. The event is free and open to the public, especially African American males from middle school to adults.
A panel of African American healthcare professionals and SF health sciences students will discuss the value of healthcare careers and share their inspirational stories. A question-and-answer session will follow the panel discussion. Dr. Kevin McBride will give brief opening remarks and talk about his career as a physician.
The healthcare programs represented at the forum include cardiovascular technology, dental, nursing, nuclear medicine technology, radiography, respiratory care and surgical technology.
What’s it like being a guy training for a field traditionally dominated by women?
“I haven’t seen any difference between being a guy and being a girl in nursing,” Moorehead said. “No discrimination, no people making fun of you. There’s enough guys in the program where we kind of stick together. And all the girls are really nice to the guys. They know we’ve all worked really hard to be here.”
Once students make it into a health science program at Santa Fe, they are likely to succeed. The graduation rate for health sciences is 75-90 percent. Every student has a faculty mentor and access to learning labs, and African American men receive additional mentoring through My Brother’s Keeper, a special program with the goal of helping African American men succeed at Santa Fe.
“If you have a drive to help people, all you really have to do is put out your best effort,” said Moorehead. “They’ll teach you and guide you. You can make it.”
Moorehead plans to work as an emergency room nurse when he graduates from Santa Fe in 2013. Eventually he wants to earn a master’s in nursing from the University of South Florida and focus on critical care nursing. He’ll work as a nurse as he continues to build his credentials.
Forum attendees will hear from Moorehead and these additional panelists: James Latson, Jr., a licensed practical nurse; Tedrick Moore and Ermon Owens, both radiologic technologists; Oliver Rhoden, a cardiovascular technology student; Chance Robertson, a dental hygiene student; and Assi Timah, a registered respiratory therapist.
For more information, please contact Health Sciences Counselor Scott Fortner at 352-395-5733 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.