Thought this was a good read: Daily Herald | Challenge, teamwork key to cardiac care nursing

Andy Gomes represents a growing trend in the field of nursing: males nurses.

At Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, where Gomes works in the cardiac intensive care unit, male nurses work in nearly every unit, with a slightly heavier concentration in the operating room.

"Male nurses are in big demand," Gomes says. "They seem to gravitate toward the more technical aspects of nursing, like the intensive care unit and operating room."

Gomes originally thought of pursuing pre-med in college, but when his scholarship opportunities dried up, he had to rethink his options. Two of his aunts are nurses, he says, and his father was a minister while he was growing up, so he found himself drawn to the personal side of nursing, and the chance to spend more time with patients and their families. He completed his registered nursing degree at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Gomes found a job first at Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb on the medical oncology unit, and later the intensive care unit at night.

"That's what I like about nursing - there are so many opportunities to try something different," Gomes says. "If one place doesn't seem like a good fit, you can always try something else."

When Delnor opened its new cardiac care center, Gomes seized the chance to work in a new unit, and during a day shift. For the last eight years, he has worked in its cardiac intensive care unit, where he now is a charge nurse. Gomes works 12-hour shifts, typically three days a week, and attends meetings and classes on the fourth day. "It's a pretty nice schedule, especially for family life," says Gomes, who with his wife, has two young children.

As a charge nurse, Gomes comes in a half-hour earlier than the rest of his shift, to read over reports and assign the staff their patients for the day.

He doesn't assign himself the most critical patients, so that he can be available to help other nurses or serve as a sounding board if they need to bounce something off him.

"There's a real team environment to the job, and I enjoy that," Gomes says, "and every day presents something different. Patients are always in different stages, and the physicians ask you a lot of questions, so you have to be on your toes.

"You never have the same day twice," he adds, "and I like the challenge in that."