In 1971, Steve Miller, a nurse, saw the need for an organization for men in nursing and formed a group of like-minded men in Michigan. The group grew in numbers and is reported to have had as many as 2300 members from all over the country. Luther Christman was invited to join the group and assist them in the development of the organization. Shortly thereafter, Miller decided to go to law school, and the group floundered without his leadership. In 1974, Luther Christman convened a group of men nurses in Chicago, and the Men in Nursing in Michigan group was reorganized as the National Male Nurses Association.
Within three years, the NMNA grew to more than 2300 members. Members represented almost every state in the United States. The major event of the NMNA was the Annual Meeting at which time nurses could gather to discuss issues, provide support and mold the direction of the organization. Nevertheless, after several successful years, membership faltered and the organization died.
However, in 1980 the NMNA was revitalized under the guidance of Luther Christman, then Dean and Vice President for Nursing, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, and the annual conference was held in Chicago. The more than 100 who attended this conference made a commitment to recruit others into the organization. Under the leadership of Luther Christman, Chairman of the Board, and Edward Halloran newly elected president, chapters were formed in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and California. Once again, NMNA was on the move.
At the next Annual Meeting in 1981, membership proposed a name change to the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN), which would better reflect the goals and the membership.
Objectives were adopted at this meeting:
Men and young men in the United States are encouraged to become nurses and join together with all nurses in strengthening and humanizing health care to Americans.
Men who are now nurses are encouraged to grow professionally and demonstrate to each other and to society the increasing contributions being made by men in the nursing profession.
The Association intends that its members be full participants in the nursing profession and its organizations and use this assembly for the limited objectives state above.
AAMN has continued since that reorganization through the perseverance of its volunteer officers and members. It has continued to have annual meetings and publish the newsletter, InterAction. Through the direction of Bruce Wilson, our web page master, AAMN's Internet presence became reality. AAMN is a voice in support and encouragement of men in nursing on a national level. AAMN's name often comes up in nursing journals when men in nursing is the topic under discussion. The organization started out as a grass roots movement and is continuing the process of becoming a force on the national level.
AAMN over the years has continued with the original objectives with minimal modifications. The additional objective on supporting men's health issues was added because of the need to encourage education and research on health and keeping men healthy rather than on illness. AAMN will continue to promote our limited objectives.