Clinical learning experiences of university male student nurses during their placement in a clinical setting
An increasing number of males is entering the nursing profession. The researcher in his position as a clinical supervisor at the School of Nursing at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), through informal ward rounds with student nurses in the wards, has received concerns raised by male student nurses regarding their dissatisfaction with their clinical learning. Given the paucity of literature about the experiences of males working in a profession dominated by females, the researcher embarked on this study to understand how male student nurses experienced the clinical learning environment. The aim of the study was to explore and describe the lived clinical learning experience of male student nurses during their experiential learning in the clinical setting. A descriptive phenomenological design was used. Purposive sampling was used to select participants from the second, third and fourth year of their study. Three focus group discussions, consisting of six participants per group were used to collect data. One open-ended question guided the interviews. Focus group discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was conducted by means of Colaizzi`s (1978) seven steps method of qualitative analysis. Three major themes identified focused on the experiences regarding the constraints in the learning environment, the impact on the self and social support of students working in a female dominated profession. The participants in this study were male students only, but after looking at the findings and literature, the problem of not being given opportunities to practise clinical skills in a clinical learning environment, particularly according to their level of study, is a problem that faces both male and female students. The findings indicate that male nurses do have different experiences compared to female nurses because of their masculinity, hence they are limited in the care that they can provide to female patients.