A cross - sectional profile of male students registered for the Bachelor of Nursing at a nursing training institution in the Western Cape
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Men comprise about 10% of the nursing population globally and approximately 15% of the nursing workforce according to the South African Nursing Council. There has been an increase noted in the number of males entering the nursing profession. However, it is reported that male nurses experience discriminatory encounters related to gender bias, nursing culture, lack of equity in learning opportunities, and the stigmatisation of male nurses by the media. Although figures indicate that men remain a minority within this female dominated profession, a university in the Western Cape reported an increased enrolment of males in the nursing programme. However, little is known about what motivates them to enter this female-dominated profession and the challenges they face within the nursing profession. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compile a profile of the current male student nursing population at his school of nursing. The objectives were to identify factors motivating male students to choose nursing as a profession; identify the perceived challenges of male students in the nursing programme; and determine any associations. A quantitative, descriptive study design was used to collect data from the study population, 218 male students registered for the undergraduate nursing programmes in 2018. Stratified sampling was used to select male students for participation in the cross- sectional survey and 143 completed the self-administered questionnaire. The tool in this study was adapted from studies conducted by Bartfay et al (2010) and from O’Lynn (2003, 2013). The Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient for the Likert scale questions to determine the motivation for choosing nursing was 0.700 -and 0.905 for the perceived challenges. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 was used to calculate descriptive and inferential statistics. Spearman’s correlations to calculate the strength of the relationship between the dependent variables. Mann-Whitney U test and the Kruskal- Wallis tests were used to determine the associations between the different variables. A response rate of 65.5% (143) was obtained. The majority of the male students, 84% (120) were aged between 18-25 years and 13% (18) between 26 and 33 years. The majority, 77% (110) were Blacks, 19% (27) Coloureds and 1% (2) White. Forty four percent (63) resides in the Eastern Cape, whilst 39% (56) is from the Western Cape. The spread across the different year levels from 1st to 4th year of the B. Nursing programme are 25% (35), 27(39), 21% (29) and 20% (28) respectively. The majority, 88% (126) had no previous nursing experience before commencing the nursing programme but 53% (76) were studying. The majority, 95% (137) were single and 79% (114) indicating no dependents. The desire to make a difference in society (97%, n=137) and always wanted to be a nurse (38%, n=54) were identified respectively as the most and least important intrinsic factor for entering the nursing profession. The highest rated extrinsic factors for choosing nursing ranging from 92% -76% included having a stable career; variety of career paths; travelling abroad; career mobility and using nursing as a steppingstone to other careers. However, 39% (56) were encouraged by family to do nursing. In terms of perceivedchallenges, the majority of male students indicated that media portrayed nursing as a female profession, 86% (122) and male nurses as gay or effeminate, 71% (102). Challenges in the clinical settings reveal that 71% (102) of the respondents fear being accused of inappropriate touching of female patients, 82% (118) indicated that female patients were reluctant to receive care from male nurses, and 78% (112) perceive that female colleagues utilize male nurses primarily to lift heavy objects or heavy patients. Finally, the results indicate that extrinsic motivations were significantly associated with the respondents’ race (p = 0.004) and province (p = 0.047). A significant association was found between intrinsic motivation and the age of those respondents who considered nursing as a profession (p = 0.000). There was a significant association between extrinsic motivations and the age when the respondents considered nursing (p = 0.016). The main recommendation that nurse educators and clinical staff be informed of the challenges and gender-based issues that male student nurses face and implement remedial actions in both the classroom and clinical areas.