Exploring factors affecting attrition of male students from an undergraduate nursing course: a qualitative study.Nurse Educ Today. 2007 May; 27(4):325-32.NE
This article reports the findings of a qualitative study that investigated the factors influencing both the academic and clinical practice performance of undergraduate male nursing students at a regional Australian university. The impetus for the study evolved from the recognition that, despite increasing numbers of males choosing to undertake nursing as a career, attrition by males from nursing courses continues to be problematic. In a profession that is hallmarked by critical staff shortages, it was viewed as important to investigate reasons contributing to the attrition of male nursing students enrolled in undergraduate nursing courses. The informants for the research were eight male nursing students enrolled internally in the Bachelor of Nursing course at a regional university in Australia. Data were collected using in-depth interviews and written narratives in the form of a diary. Data were analysed using thematic analysis, the findings revealing that male nursing students face particular challenges from an academic and clinical practice perspective during their university experience. For example, themes identified from interviews and narratives highlighted the fact that there is a tendency for male nursing students to feel isolated and excluded from an academic and clinical perspective. As well as this, the informants in this study clearly highlighted their preference for engaging in the technical aspects of nursing. The implications for nurse educators are emphasized and from this, educational strategies are suggested to facilitate the retention of male nursing students in undergraduate nursing courses.