During June, the national designation as Men’s Health Month helps highlight the need for men to advocate for their own health and that of the men in their lives. For Men’s Health Week, which runs June 13 to 19, Minority Nurse turned to an expert in men’s health to explore some of the top health issues and concerns facing men.
Jason Mott PhD, RN, associate professor in the Pre-licensure Program Director and assistant dean in the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, College of Nursing, is the president-elect of the American Association for Men in Nursing and offered some thoughts about how men can live healthier lives and why addressing health problems quickly matters.
What are some of the top health concerns for men today and what are some of the implications if they are not treated properly?
There are many health concerns for men. Many of them have been around for a long period of time, such as heart disease, diabetes, etc. When those aren’t taken care of, there are significant health concerns and possible risks that can occur for men. Another topic that is gaining a lot of attention for men in low testosterone and testosterone replacement therapy. There are so many commercials for products that are supposed to help with low testosterone levels and increasing activity and stamina. Issues with men taking these supplements without needing them can lead to increased cholesterol, increased risk of stroke and heart disease as well as sleep apnea. It can also lead to increased aggression.
What are some of the barriers to addressing men’s health problems?
Men often don’t seek health care until things are in advanced stages. Too often, men feel that they are invincible until something brings their health down. Men feel that being sick brings down their invincibility. Men too often don’t know enough about their own health and healthcare, so they don’t advocate enough for themselves.
As the number of male nurses increases, how can their care have a positive impact on men’s health specifically?
I think by increasing the number of men in nursing will allow us to better get men involved in the healthcare system. Men in nursing understand many of the barriers to care-seeking behaviors that make it difficult for men to seek healthcare. We can provide education about specific diseases and their progression to help men better understand their care. Men typically want as much information as they can get so that they can manage their health on their own. By understanding this, men in nursing can help educate these needs to their colleagues.
As a nurse, what do you want patients to know about men’s health and what are some warning signs for them to pay attention to?
I would want men to understand that they have a lot of control of their own health. They need to take ownership of their healthcare. They need to be involved in their own health and healthcare. We can’t leave it up to others to make healthcare decisions for us. Some of the biggest warning signs to look out for regarding their own health are activity levels and how they are able to tolerate activity and if they notice increased hunger and thirst.
What would you like male nursing students or early career nurses to know about this career that would’ve helped you when you were a novice?
The advice that I give my current students is to take advantage of any opportunity that they have. This will allow them to get support and mentorship from areas outside of their organization or unit. I also tell them not to get drawn up into the drama that often occurs on their units. Finally, they need to protect themselves. Too often, men are used to help with lifting and transferring patients. This can put a strain on their bodies. They need to do many things to protect themselves from injury. They also need to learn how to work in areas where they are often the minority. The best thing that they can do is to maintain a professional demeanor at all times.