Medical centers are working to create an inclusive workplace for both genders in the profession.

Male nurses hold key roles in the high-quality care delivered to patients and families at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a fact recognized through repeat awards naming VUMC as a great place for men to pursue a nursing career.

Recently, Vanderbilt was given a fourth citation as the Best Workplace for Men in Nursing by the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN), a professional organization.

“At Vanderbilt, we understand the value of gender diversity in nursing,” said Bryan Dejanovich, R.N., MBA, senior director of Regional Hospital Integration. “From the bedside to the boardroom, male nurses are an integral part of our strategic plan to make diversity and inclusion a priority.”

Best Workplace 

Dejanovich, along with Jeremy Crawford, M.M.H.C, R.N., worked to prepare the award submission. It required the medical center to demonstrate gender diversity in nurse recruitment materials, offer strategic plans to increase the hiring of men in nursing roles, show involvement by male nurses and a historical increase in the number of men on the nursing staff.

About 10 percent of Vanderbilt’s nursing staff are male, and 13 percent hold positions in management and administration. Vanderbilt’s male nurses are also often seen as front-runners for institutional awards, including the DAISY, Five Pillar Leader and Credo awards.

According to Dejanovich, Vanderbilt’s leaders credit work by nurses of both genders as being an integral factor in achieving VUMC’s fourth Magnet designation last year from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the highest an organization can receive for the provision of nursing care and interprofessional collaboration.


VUMC shows its support for men in the nursing profession by adopting such employee-friendly policies as two weeks of paid paternity leave, student loan repayment programs, tuition reimbursement offers, and reliance on gender-inclusive language in recruitment materials, Dejanovich said.

The medical center has embraced “making diversity and inclusion intentional” as one of its three strategic directions, along with an emphasis on designing for patients and sharing of knowledge.

“We have a unique organizational culture that supports diversity, continuing education and personal improvement activities,” Dejanovich said. “A great example is our policy for parental leave that is inclusive of fathers.”

Local Chapter

VUMC nurses have helped start a new chapter of AAMN for Middle Tennessee. Crawford said the idea to create the chapter originated following the 2022 AAMN conference in Orlando, Fla., attended by a Nashville delegation.

“The chapter has a threefold mission: To improve men’s health, to create a community that supports male nurses, and to help create a pipeline of advancement for potential male nurses,” he explained.

The Middle Tennessee chapter has members from VUMC, Belmont School of Nursing, and the AAMN student chapter at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. The group is hoping to attract more members from among Vanderbilt employees as well as those working at other medical facilities and schools of nursing. Membership is open to any nurse, care partner or medical assistant in Middle Tennessee, male or female.

“We want all males to know that nursing is a great option for their careers,” Crawford said. “By raising awareness and putting a support structure in place, we are paving the way for the next generation of male nurses.”

About the Expert

Bryan Dejanovich, M.B.A.

Bryan Dejanovich, B.S.N., R.N., MBA, is the senior director of Regional Hospital Integration at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Jeremy Crawford, M.M.H.C.

Jeremy Crawford, M.M.H.C., B.B.A., B.S.N., R.N., is a senior associate in nursing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.