Male nursing pioneers

posted on May 5, 2016

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

May 6-16, 2016, is National Nurses Week.


"Larry [Rowe] Gerry [Beideck] and Ricky [Mosqueda]: a first for Kaiser" 1970 KFSN yearbook. First male enrolled students.

“Larry [Rowe] Gerry [Beideck] and Ricky [Mosqueda]: a first for Kaiser” 1970 KFSN yearbook. First male enrolled students.

Caption in the 1970 Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing yearbook: “Larry, Gerry and Ricky: a first for Kaiser.”

Larry Rowe, Gerry Beideck, and Ricky (Ricardo Pangilinan) Mosqueda were groundbreakers in the 1970 class of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing, which operated between 1947 and 1976. As the first enrolled male students, they were pioneers in a traditionally female nursing profession.

After World War II, a national shortage of nurses prompted Kaiser Permanente founding physician Sidney Garfield, MD, to create a school in 1947.

Frances P. Bolton (1885-1977) was the first Ohio woman elected to Congress and an advocate for gender and racial desegregation of military nursing units. She introduced the 1949 Bolton Act (H.R. 9398) which provided for the appointment of male citizens as nurses in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Six years later, Lieutenant Edward T. Lyon was commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps in 1955.

A December, 1959, article in The Modern Hospital titled “Mr. R.N. Is Wanted on the Nursing Team” repeated the need for more and diverse nurses. “Hospital authorities are wondering how long a nation with a critical shortage of nurses can afford such an outworn notion as thinking of nursing as ‘woman’s work’,” stating that 97.6 percent of the nursing workforce was female and that only 225 male students a year were graduating from nursing schools.

KFSN class of 1972 yearbook photo Ricardo "Ricky" Mosqueda, senior

KFSN class of 1972 yearbook photo Ricardo “Ricky” Mosqueda, senior

Sadly, not all pioneers made it from the classroom to the hospital room. By 1972, KFSN students Larry and Gerry had dropped out, but Ricky graduated. For reasons unknown, he didn’t complete his California state board examinations, and we don’t know which career path he chose after that.

The growth in numbers of male nurses is a welcome diversification in staffing. A 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation article pointed out that “Patients are much more receptive to health care providers of similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and that may well translate to gender as well.” And to support those professionals, the American Association for Men in Nursing offers trainings, scholarships and resources.

One example of supporting exceptional efforts is Kaiser Permanente’s Extraordinary Nurse Award Program, which complements existing regional recognition programs and honors nurses that demonstrate all six of the Kaiser Permanente nursing values: professionalism, patient and family centric, compassion, teamwork, excellence and integrity. This year, there are two male winners out of 11 total – Victor Falle, RN, of the Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu, and John Kirk Phillips, RN, of the Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center.

As of 2015, 17.3 percent of Kaiser Permanente’s nurses are men. And we are proud to have male nursing leaders throughout regional and national level positions, including Gregory A. Adams, who was recently appointed Group President to lead all Kaiser Permanente regions.


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8 Responses to “Male nursing pioneers”

  1. Oscar Cairoli says:

    Thank you for this interesting article, as I can relate very well. I graduated as an RN in 1978. My class of 40 had only 3 males and one later dropped out. So we were only 2 at the graduation. I have been working in nursing since then.

  2. Alan Falcioni MSN, RN, CNN says:

    Great to read about then men who were pioneers in the Kaiser Permanente system. I was 1 of 5 men who started in my RN program in 1977, and 1 of the 2 who graduated in 1979. Hired as a new grad at the Fontana Medical Center, I’m now at the Ontario Medical Center. After 37 years, still proud to be a Kaiser Permanente nurse.

  3. Craig Kalthoff MSN-RNP-C says:

    I was one male out of 40 in my graduating class. Having been a RN for 38 years, working for KP for the past 30 years with the last 18 as a Nurse Practitioner, I cannot say enough about nursing as a wonderful profession for men. I have been truly blessed to be able to make a difference in peoples lives.

  4. Todd Grivetti, MSN, RN, CNML says:

    Great Article. After 20 years of nursing, I do not regret a day of it. I was one of 4 male students in my nursing class and 2 of us graduated. I believe I am the only one still working. Although I left the bedside long ago, however, my career has taken me to great heights and I have been blessed every day of it.

  5. Seth Samson says:

    Good read! In my nursing class that graduated in 2012, 40-50% was male. It is notable that there are still only 2 male nurses (out of approx. 70 nurses)in the medical office building where I work. Slowly but surely, gentlemen!

  6. Marlon Yu, BSN RN says:

    More and more of these articles demonstrating how male nurses function and contributing well in a female dominated profession.
    I am one of the 6 male nurses in a class of 136. Graduated in 1978. The 6 of us all went into working for bedside and hospital management and are successful in our field.

  7. Lyle LaBeaud says:

    In my over 20 years with Kaiser Permanente, this is the first article that I can remember that recognizes male nurses. It is wonderful to be recognized, and for the organization to recognize the diversity in nursing and the value add of nurses in the organizational structure.

  8. Noel Domingo, MSN, RNP says:

    My classmate and I were the only two male RN’s in the small community hospital where worked in Texas in the mid-80’s.
    As with everyone else, we were 2 out of the 4 male students in our class. We have been working for Kaiser for about 28 years now. I am glad to be with such an organization that embraces and thrives in diversity. Thank you for acknowledging male nurses.

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