Even if your not on “NurseTok”—the highly active corner of TikTok dedicated to nurse-related content—chances are you’ve come across Nurse Blake, the breakout viral sensation who brings humor to the world of healthcare and beyond.
First of all: Yes he’s a real nurse! Though he’s become known for his hilarious web videos—to the tune of nearly 2 million followers across Instagram and TikTok—Blake Lynch graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014 and has been working in hospitals for the better part of the past nine years.
But, somewhere along the way, he began creating content for social media—at first, it was a way to cope with the unique challenges and stresses of the job, but the more attention his videos received, the more he realized they could also be a way to connect with other nurses and foster a community.
How about we take this to the next level?
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Now, he travels the world as a comedian and public speaker, performing to sold-out crowds of nurses and their loved ones. In fact, he just wrapped up the U.S. leg of his “Shock Advised” Tour—100+ shows with over 150,000 people in attendance—and is preparing to take the show on the road to Australia and New Zealand next month. It’s basically The Eras Tour of nurse-related comedy!
And that’s not the only reason we love Nurse Blake: He’s also a tireless activist and advocate for our community. Take his Banned4Life organization, which he started back in 2013 as a way to fight the FDA’s discriminatory policy that blocked gay men from donating blood. After two years of work, the FDA actually listened and reversed the ban in 2015. This man get results!
While on a momentary break before jetting off to New Zealand, we invited Nurse Blake to be the latest guest of our rapid-fire Q&A series, Dishin’ It. In our conversation, the social star weighs in on what makes nursing the sexiest profession, the coolest places his tour has taken him, and what it’s like to be a loud and proud activist in Florida while Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis is in charge.
Is there a piece of media—whether a movie, TV series, book, album, theater, video game, etc.—that you consider a big part of your own coming-out journey, or that has played an important role in your understanding of queerness? Why does it stand out to you?
When I was growing up, I would watch Boy Meets Boy, the first LGBTQ+ dating show. I’d watch that and Queer As Folk silently in my room, so that my parents wouldn’t catch me. Both shows just made me feel comfortable in my sexuality while my world was crashing because I was put through gay conversion therapy as a teenager. I would also watch Logo TV, before my parents blocked it so it wouldn’t turn me gay. Spoiler alert… it didn’t work.
Why do you think nursing is the sexiest profession?
Because scrubs are HOT! Well, cute scrubs are hot! Actually, hot nurses can even make ugly scrubs cute. There’s just something about healthcare workers and the aspect of saving lives that I think people find sexy, even though nothing about nursing itself is sexy. It must be our moodiness or our tiredness, that people are attracted to.
pfirefighters 👨🚒 = 🚩🚩🚩
On a much more serious note, you did a lot of great advocacy work to get the FDA to revisit their policy banning gay men from donating blood—why was that such an important cause for you? Now that it’s been lifted, what impact do you hope that will have on the community?
When I was in nursing school, one of my close friends and a fellow student had to receive numerous blood transfusions because of their sickle cell anemia. They inspired me to donate blood but unfortunately, I was turned away for liking guys. This was back in 2013.
After being turned away, I started a grassroots campaign called Banned4Life, which pressured the FDA to end the lifetime ban by collecting petition signatures and raising awareness of the discriminatory ban. After 2 years of advocacy, we got the FDA to end the lifetime ban in Dec. of 2015. Through taking on this project, I realized the power I had when fighting for something I believe in. It showed me that a 20-year-old nursing student could get the FDA to listen and end a 30-year-old policy to increase the blood donor supply.
Since you’re in the midst of your massive Shock Advised Tour: What’s a city you’ve loved visiting that you may not have ever gone to if it weren’t for your career/touring the world? What makes it stand out to you?
Anchorage, Alaska! It was actually my first stop on the tour. Luckily, we started the tour in July, so it was nice and not freezing in Alaska. We flew up there a few days ahead of my first show and I got to take a helicopter ride to a glacier and able to go out and explore the town. It’s a super special place that I would never have gotten the chance to visit if it wasn’t for touring.
Speaking of cities, you’re a Floridian who grew up in the suburbs of Orlando. Given your home state’s Gov. DeSantis has been such a figurehead in the anti-LGBTQ+ movement, what’s something you can share about Florida’s queer community that makes you proud? And: Do you have any messages you’d like to send to DeSantis?
When people ask me where I’m from I get so embarrassed because of the hot mess that is Florida when it comes to the education and political system here. I’m definitely most proud of how LGBTQ+ advocates don’t give up on Florida and continue fighting for equality, even though there is so much resistance. I’m proud of how the community came together, and continues to come together, around the tragedy that occurred at Pulse Nightclub, a bar I would frequent.
My question for DeSantis, where do you get your lifts? I’m trying to gain another 2 inches too.
You’ve performed for thousands and thousands of people all over the country and beyond, but do you have any horror stories of a “gig gone wrong” that you can share? Or perhaps a show that was especially strange or interesting?
When 1,500 – 3,000 nurses are together in one area, things are bound to get a little messy! A nurse at one of my shows, probably a night-shift nurse, convinced the security she was my aunt and they let her on the stage during the last 2 minutes of the show. I saw her trying to rush me when I was walking off and one of my team members grabbed her. Apparently, she wanted to tackle and kiss me! How’d she miss that I’m GAY? Very gay!
What job do you think gets you hit on more and why: Being a nurse, or being a comedian? Which makes for a better romantic partner?
Def being a nurse! Nobody wants to be with a comedian. We’re a mess, even more than nurses, if you can believe it.
Who is a queer or trans artist/performer/creator that you think is doing really cool work right now? Why are they someone we should all be paying attention to?
There are so many amazing queer people that inspire me: Wayne Brady, Elliot Page, Bianca Del Rio, the list goes on and on. One person I am enjoying following right now is Dylan Mulvaney. Being on social media is difficult and can be mentally taxing. I admire her being so open and vulnerable to bring awareness to her story and trans issue. Keep being awesome Dylan!