A Comparative Analysis of the Characteristics of Males and Females Who Select Nursing as a Profession
Tremmel, Nancy J.
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The purpose of this study was to examine if there were any changes over the last 33 years in factors that influence career choices of males and females who become registered nurses. A structured self-report survey including 33 fixed alternative and short response questions, patterned from studies by Mannino (1963) and Williams (1973), was developed by the researcher and mailed to 150 male and 150 female registered nurse in Iowa. Data examining background characteristics and demographic information were collected from a sample of 63 male and 84 female registered nurses in Iowa. Four research questions were developed to help determine the factors that influence males and females to choose nursing as a career, specifically those factors that were similar and different between male and female nurses. The data were utilized to determine implications for the marketing and recruitment of men into the nursing profession. The theoretical framework of the study was social role theory. The respondents were primarily caucasian, Catholic, married with children, and averaged an age of 41.8 years. They had been in nursing 14.2 years and their most recent nursing position was staff nurse. An analysis of the data revealed the factors that influence males and females to choose nursing as a career to be similar. Ranked factors influencing the choice of nursing as a profession by both male and female subjects included "to help people". The male nurse was single, was older when he decided to become a nurse and when he entered a nursing education program. He aspired to obtain a management position in nursing, and had relatives in nursing. He had an associate degree in nursing, had been in the armed forces, had a college degree other than nursing and a career prior to nursing. Findings of this study reveal that the male nurse of today had changed little from the male nurse in the studies of Mannino (1963) and Williams (1973) and is similar to the female nurse of today. Suggestions to increase recruitment and marketing of men in nursing included presenting nursing to males as appealing, introducing non-traditional career choice possibilities to males early, and actively targeting young males through the media. Marketing should be done in an androgynous manner, recruitment should be aimed at men in allied health professions, male role models such as male nurse recruiters or nursing faculty should visit with potential male nursing students, and school counselors need to be informed about the potential of a career in nursing. The advanced practice nurse needs to continue to conduct research on men in nursing to identify more factors for marketing and recruitment.