Dr. Russell Tranbarger has been breaking barriers in nursing throughout his entire career by challenging the role of men in nursing. He first studied nursing with the intent of going to medical school, but he quickly found that nursing was his true calling. He enjoyed watching his patients improve because of his care.
He was elected president of the Student Nurse Association of Illinois in 1958 and was the first man to hold that office. He also became the first male nurse at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. After being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. He taught operating room nursing to students being sent to serve in the Vietnam War.
Tranbarger went on to earn his Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of North Carolina. After graduation, he became the Associate Director of Nursing at North Carolina Memorial Hospital. He was appointed as an adjunct faculty member at the UNC School of Nursing, making him the first man on the school’s faculty.
He later earned his doctorate from North Carolina State University and joined the faculty at East Carolina University.
Dr. Russell Tranbarger held various leadership roles in organizations such as:
• North Carolina Federation of Nursing Organizations
• American Academy of Nursing
• North Carolina Foundation for Nursing
• American Nurses Association.
Tranbarger was inducted into the American Nurses Association Nursing Hall of Fame in 2012.
Dr. Russell Tranbarger advises, “If you are going to get involved – get involved. Don’t sit on the sidelines.” He lived true to his words by being a nurse, educator, historian, leader, author, editor, legislative advocate, and role model. He is best known for his pioneering work on behalf of male nurses.