JOURNAL ARTICLE

Nursing instructors' and male nursing students' perceptions of undergraduate, classroom nursing education

Jeff M Dyck, John Oliffe, Alison Phinney, Bernie Garrett
Nurse Education Today 2009, 29 (6): 649-53
19269071
Attrition rates of male nursing students exceed those of females yet the experiences of male students in nursing school are poorly understood. This interpretive ethnographic study explored the experiences of male nursing students and female nursing instructors in the context of classroom education. Data collection consisted of participant observation of classroom teaching sessions followed by interviews with six male nursing students who were participants in the classes and six female nursing instructors who taught the classes. Themes resulting from data analysis addressed men's roles in the nursing classroom and the culture of nursing education. The theme of "nursing like a real man" was characterized by men's reliance on roles and behaviours associated with traditional masculinities including leadership, assertiveness and risk-taking. The theme of "masculinities in a feminine place" captured the gendered culture of nursing education which manifested in stereotypes and a sexualized identity, where men saw themselves as accommodated but not integrated. "Diversity between masculine and feminine" communicated the incongruity between men's educational preferences and the techniques that predominate in nursing education. These findings suggest that nursing instructors need to consider gender in their teaching practice, avoid parody or stereotypes of masculinities, and reject assumptions that male students are homogeneous.

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