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Stepping outside the stereotype. A pilot study of the motivations and experiences of males in the nursing profession

Authors

  • Margaret Whittock PhD, BSsc (Hons),

    1. Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St George's Medical School, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, UK and
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  • Laurence Leonard MSc, PG Dip Theol, PGCE, Dip Phil, RN

    1. Senior Lecturer, Kingston University and St George's Medical School, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, UK
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M. Whittock
Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences
Kingston University and
St George's Medical School
Kingston Hill Campus
Kingston Hill
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey, KT2 7LB
UK
E-mail: mwhittoc@hscs.sghms.ac.uk

Abstract

Despite their historical significance to the UK's nursing profession, numbers of registered male nurses here have seldom exceeded 10% of the total. This is not an immutable principle, given that countries such as the Netherlands manage to attract males to the profession in much greater numbers. This paper examines and critiques the available literature on males in nursing from both a historical and present day perspective. In so doing, it discusses factors such as caring, over-performance and career progression, and, notions of masculinity. It then moves on to outline and discuss an on-going pilot study specifically designed to examine the motivations and experiences of a sample of preregistration and postregistration male nurses in the UK, across a range of ages and ethnicities. The ultimate aim of the study is to produce evidence which will advance the recruitment of men to a profession which is currently experiencing severe recruitment difficulties. The paper presents themes emerging from the study to date, examining the implications these may have for the future management of nurse recruitment.

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