“Nursing is no place for men” ― A thematic analysis of male nursing students experiences of undergraduate nursing education

Martin Christensen, Jessica Knight


Background: Surprisingly, opinion about whether men are suitable within the profession continues to be a divided issue. Men enter the profession for a multitude of reasons, yet barriers whether emotional, verbal or sexual are still present. Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the experience of men “training” to be registered nurses within a regional New Zealand context. Design: A Narrative Analysis approach was used. Participants: Five New Zealand men currently undertaking their bachelor of nursing degree at a regional tertiary institute were interviewed as to their experiences of what it meant to be a man in “training”.

Method: A thematic analysis was undertaken and guided by an understanding of the way personal narratives informs the human sciences especially within the context of nursing praxis. Four key themes were identified.

Results: Four key themes were identified: A career with flexibility and promise; perceived gender inequality in providing care; developing professional boundaries with female colleagues and being unique has its advantages.

Conclusion: The men in this study were attracted to the profession by career stability and advancement; the opportunities for travel also figured highly. At times they felt excluded and marginalised because of their minority status within their group and the feminine nature of the curriculum. The men attempted to dispel the myth around male nurse sexual stereotypes. Some of the students behaved in a manner to exert their heterosexualness. The students in this study sensed their vulnerability in choosing nursing as a career. However, all the participants saw nursing as viable and portable career in terms of advancement and travel.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n12p95

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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