Gender, gender roles and completion of nursing education: a longitudinal study

Nurse Educ Today. 2010 May;30(4):303-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2009.08.005. Epub 2009 Sep 15.


The current worldwide nursing shortage and high attrition of nursing students remain a challenge for the nursing profession. The aim of this paper was to investigate how key psychological attributes and constructions differentiate between completers and non-completers of nursing education. A questionnaire including measures of gender role identity and perceived gender appropriateness of careers was administered to 384 students early in the first year of the course. At the end of the programme attrition rates were obtained. The findings indicate that males were more likely to leave the course than females. Furthermore, those who completed the course tended to view nursing as more appropriate for women, in contrast to the non-completers who had less gender typed views. The female-dominated nature of nursing, prevalent stereotypes and gender bias inherent in nursing education seem to make this an uncomfortable place for males and those with less gendered typed views. Whilst it is acknowledged that attrition is undoubtedly a complex issue with many contributing factors, the nursing profession need to take steps to address this bias to ensure their profession is open equally to both female and male recruits.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Career Choice
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Men / education
  • Men / psychology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nurses, Male / education
  • Nurses, Male / psychology
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Personality Inventory
  • Personnel Selection
  • Stereotyping
  • Student Dropouts* / psychology
  • Student Dropouts* / statistics & numerical data
  • Students, Nursing* / psychology
  • Students, Nursing* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Women / education
  • Women / psychology*
  • Young Adult