First Advisor

Michael J. Smith

Date of Publication

Summer 8-8-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




Male nurses -- Education -- Northwest, Pacific -- Case studies, Male nurses -- Education -- Northwest, Pacific -- Attitudes, Nursing -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Northwest, Pacific -- Case studies, Sex role in the work environment -- Case studies, Stereotypes (Social psychology) -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 186 pages)


In contemporary American society, the nursing profession is predominantly made up of white women. Currently, males make up only 6.8 percent of the three million nursing professionals in the U.S. and they are considered gender minorities within the nursing profession and within nursing education. As gender minorities, male students are identified as experiencing nursing programs and the practice of nursing differently than their female counterparts. The purpose of this single instrumental, within site case study was to explore the learning environment for male nursing students and to investigate the nature of the interactions between nursing faculty and male undergraduate students in a Pacific Northwest medical university nursing program. Data was collected in the educational setting through observations, participant interviews, and document analysis. In addition, this study used Kanter's theoretical framework of tokenism to uncover if male nursing students were perceived as tokens in the educational environment. The findings showed that the faculty-student interactions were largely positive; they also revealed that having other males in the class was an instrumental factor in their positive perception of their educational experience. However, the male nursing students also identified areas of discomfort in the educational setting, specifically when practicing clinical skills with female peers, feeling pressured to volunteer and to expose skin during in-class demonstrations, and anticipating that they would be excluded from certain clinical situations. This research indicated that gender differences are present within nursing education and contributed to instances of discomfort for male students. Specific barriers occurred most often when men engaged with female peers and were in clinical settings. These findings provide new insight into when and where men begin to experience gender barriers in the educational environment and are pertinent to understanding the educational environment for men in nursing. Recommendations specifically geared towards assisting students in their first term are suggested for nursing faculty and administrators to ensure that the learning environment is welcoming for men. These recommendations include consciously placing males together in cohort groups and in clinical experiences, reducing instances of visibility and pressure on men in the clinical setting, building faculty awareness of perceived and real barriers for men in the educational setting, and providing faculty with tools to assess and address barriers that are present in the classroom environment.


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