Men Choosing Nursing: Negotiating a Masculine Identity in a Feminine World
In the nursing profession across the Western world, women outnumber men by a ratio of 10 to 1. The profession is often seen as being synonymous with being female and with femininity. This study aimed to illustrate the gendered aspects of career choice for men who choose to nurse and how a masculine identity can be negotiated within the profession. Using a qualitative interpretive approach, interviews were carried out with 18 male nurses. The findings indicate contradictions and difficulties for men in identifying with the profession and as men. Little encouragement is given to men to join the profession, and for men who have chosen to nurse, there is an attempt to distance themselves from traditional motivations for choosing nursing such as caring and vocationalism. This has implications for the recruitment and retention of men into the profession and also points to a need to examine the relationship of nursing to gendered concepts.