Breaking the Mold – November

November 9, 2015

Trading in his work boots and tools for a pair of scrubs and a stethoscope, licensed mechanic and current NMCC nursing student Howard Paddock has a strong passion to help others. Allowing his faith and spirituality to guide him, Howard used prayer to direct him to where he is today: pursuing his goal of becoming a registered nurse.

Howard currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada with his wife and three children. Prior to moving to New Brunswick, Howard and his family briefly lived in Washington where he attended bible worker training with the goal of doing ministry work with his church. “I love people and want to serve others.”

During this time, Howard was employed as a licensed mechanic. He obtained his license while attending Red Deer Community College in Alberta, Canada. Prior to attending college, he worked as a heavy equipment operator.

Throughout the nine years that he worked as a mechanic, Howard worked in construction and was more recently self-employed and owned his own shop in Alberta. Although his business was successful, Howard found that it was difficult to operate a busy shop and attend to his responsibilities with his family and his church.

For the past year, Howard found it difficult to find work as a mechanic. Undecided about what to do, Howard turned to his wife for support and guidance. “My wife asked me if I would consider nursing.” A registered nurse for the past twelve years, Howard’s wife knew about the nursing program at NMCC. “My wife had heard about the nursing program because some of her coworkers attended NMCC.” Howard also chose NMCC because it was affordable and close to home.

Howard reports that he has had a positive experience in his program, stating that everyone is friendly and that he has developed strong relationships with his peers. “Everyone helps each other and encourages one another to do well.” There is a sense of comradery among peers. “We are here to support each other.” Howard also mentions the encouragement he receives from his instructors. “The faculty are excellent. They are supportive and want everyone to succeed. They are here to help you. They want to see us do well as nurses.”

Howard feels there is a need for male nurses because it creates diversity in the field. He mentions that men may be at a slight advantage in regards to physical strength, however, to ensure safety, there are a variety of equipment and devices that are available to help nurses move, lift, and transfer patients. Howard notes that male and female nurses have the same job duties and responsibilities; therefore, gender is irrelevant.

According to Howard, a lack of self-confidence can be a challenge for some males entering the profession. “Being comfortable in that environment as a non-traditional nurse is a challenge. There is a stigma that comes with being a male nurse because it’s not traditional. It’s important to not let those thoughts bother you.”

Howard offers advice for males who may be considering a career in nursing, including job shadowing and conducting informational interviews to gather more information about what nursing entails. “Talk to a male nurse who has been in the field for a while.” Howard notes that talking with his wife has helped him acquire knowledge about the profession.

When Howard graduates in May of 2017, he would like to obtain employment as a registered nurse in Aroostook County. He also aspires to continue his education and earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Howard and his wife would also like to apply their knowledge and skills in nursing to serving God and others, whether it be locally or abroad.

In addition to helping others, Howard likes the educational component of nursing. “Nurses don’t just help patients, but they educate them as well. Nurses encourage their patients to be healthier and to lead healthy lifestyles.” According to Howard, taking the necessary steps to prevent illness and disease is key, a message that Howard wants to promote with his patients.

Currently maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Howard offers tips for success, including being organized, committed to his studies, and having good listening skills. Participating in study groups and communicating with peers regularly to discuss class lectures is also very helpful.

Howard emphasizes the importance of being mentally and physically healthy as a college student. “Eating properly and having a good diet, exercising, getting enough sleep, and getting fresh air and sunshine are important.” Howard also believes that spiritual wellness is essential to success. “I don’t get nervous or stressed before a test. I study and pray. I leave it in God’s hands to help me with my memory and understanding.”

Howard is pleased with the education and training that he is receiving at NMCC. Realizing that acceptance into the nursing program is often competitive, Howard is thankful that he was accepted and credits his relationship with God for his success. “I prayed for an education that would allow me to serve others. I thank God for where I am at now. God keeps opening doors for me and I keep walking through them.”