PURPOSE. This study explored the phenomenon of being a male in a predominately female-concentrated undergraduate baccalaureate nursing program.
BACKGROUND. Men remain a minority within the nursing profession. Nursing scholars have recommended that the profile of nursing needs to change to meet the diversity of the changing population, and the shortfall of the worldwide nursing shortage. However, efforts by nursing schools and other stakeholders have been conservative toward recruitment of men.
METHODS. Using Giorgi's method, 27 students from a collaborative nursing program took part in this qualitative, phenomenological study. Focus groups were undertaken to gather data and to develop descriptions of the experience.
FINDINGS. Five themes highlighted men students' experience of being in a university nursing program: choosing nursing, becoming a nurse, caring within the nursing role, gender-based stereotypes, and visible/invisible.
IMPLICATIONS. The experiences of the students revealed issues related to gender bias in nursing education, practice areas, and societal perceptions that nursing is not a suitable career choice for men. Implications for nurse educators and strategies for the recruitment and retention of men nursing students are discussed.