Nursing professor receives prestigious award
Posted: 01/31/2005
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The American Assembly for Men in Nursing has recently awarded its most prestigious honor, the Luther Christman Award, to Dr. Bruce Wilson, professor in the Department of Nursing at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Wilson, who has been with UTPA for 22 years, was chosen for the award for his contributions to nursing, especially in his efforts to document and educate others about the history of men in nursing in a positive way.

- Dr. Bruce Wilson
"Nursing has only been predominately female for the last century. Part of my work that led to the award was the research demonstrating the role and value of men in nursing. Starting at the turn of the previous century nursing became confused about whether it was a gender or a profession. This confusion led to problems within nursing, and more importantly to recurrent nursing shortages which led to the public receiving less nursing care," he said.

Wilson has written and conducted research for "Men in American Nursing History," which offers an overview of the history of men in nursing with an emphasis on men in the Americas. To view Wilson's research on the Internet log on to

Wilson, who teaches undergraduate and graduate nursing students, was presented with the award in Tucson, Ariz. at the 30th Annual Conference of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing in December.

Christman, who the award is named for is a renowned leader in nursing and medicine around the world. He is also the first male to be named dean in a United States nursing school. He was also the first to employ African-American women as faculty at Vanderbilt University in Nashville where he served as dean of the School of Nursing, and was instrumental in recruiting men into nursing.

"This is a very big and unexpected honor to receive an award named after Luther Christman, and to find out that he was part of the selection process is amazing," Wilson said.

Wilson said he feels he not only earned the award because of his research on the history of men in nursing, but also for his mentoring of nursing students all over the world.

"I have mentored students through the U.S. Department of Labor Gem Nursing project, and from my own Web pages and discussions forums. I have spoken at the local, state and national level about men in nursing and men's health problems," he said. "I have also pushed publishers to present a more diverse picture of nurses in textbooks, and insisted that my own publications include nurses of both genders, and a variety of ethnicities."

Dr. Carolina Huerta, UTPA Department of Nursing chair, said Wilson was the best choice for the award because of his dedication and many years of involvement in the research of the history of men in nursing. She said he is a role model for UTPA's male nursing students. Huerta said the close to 20 percent of males make up the nursing student population at the University.

"This award is a valuable one to our department and, most especially to our male nursing students, whom will some day reflect the population of male nurses in the Valley and beyond," Huerta said. "Dr. Wilson has worked diligently to bring recognition to all of the men who provide nursing care to those who need it."

The American Assembly for Men in Nursing is a national organization that provides a framework for nurses, as a group, to meet, discuss and influence factors, which affect men as nurses.