Authors: Wally J. Bartfay, Emma Bartfay
Background: Despite the impending shortage of nurses in Canada and globally, the recruitment and retention of males to the profession has been a challenge in the new millennium due to a variety of social barriers and negative stereotypes propagated by the mass and social media, and in part by schools of nursing themselves. Purpose: To examine the lived experiences of male nursing students in Ontario, Canada and their perceptions of reported educational and practice barriers, and social stereotypes. Design: A phenomenological study was employed to examine the lived experiences of 37 male nursing students. Methods: Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were employed to recruit male students from a mid-sized university school of nursing. In depth face-to-face interviews were conducted and guided by semi-structured open-end questions. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded and thematically categorized to make sense of the essential meanings. Results: Barriers to recruitment and retention of males in schools of nursing included the feminization of nursing curriculums; reverse discrimination by female nursing students, faculty and nursing clinical staff; a lack of positive male role models in academia, and negative social stereotypes including that men in nursing are effeminate, gay or are labeled as inappropriate caregivers. Conclusion: The active recruitment and retention of males into schools of nursing may help to address, in part, the predicted global shortages facing the profession, while also helping to promote gender diversity and social equity in this critical health care profession.
Keywords: Male nurse, stereotypes, recruitment, retention, gender diversity