• Chinese;
  • nursing;
  • students;
  • sex-role;
  • self-concept;
  • stereotype;
  • gender;
  • role ideal

Perceptions of sex-role stereotypes, self-concept, and nursing role ideal in Chinese nursing students

Aim. This study examined the relationship between sex-role stereotypes, self-concept and the requisite personality characteristics of an ideal nurse in a cohort of Hong Kong nursing students.

Methods. To rate these concepts a measure of eight comprehensive dimensions of personality perception was administered to 177 nursing students, studying on preregistration and postregistration programs at a Hong Kong tertiary institution. Both male and female nursing students perceived an ideal nurse to possess a profile of traits including being high on the dimensions of emotional stability, application, intellect, helpfulness and restraint.

Results. No significant difference between the self-ratings of the male and female students was found, indicating that male students had undergone a highly self-selective process when choosing nursing education under the influence of Chinese cultural stereotypical attitudes towards nursing. A typical Chinese nurse was rated as similar to the typical female in Chinese society by both male and female nursing students. A typical Chinese nurse was rated relatively low on the masculine dimensions of openness, extroversion and assertiveness. The self-ratings of male nursing students more closely approximated the ideal nurse than did the self-ratings of female nursing students.

Conclusion. The conclusions highlight implications for the recruitment and education of both male and female nursing students in Hong Kong society.