Gender differences in the academic and clinical performances of undergraduate nursing students: a systematic review

Nurse Educ Today. 2014 Mar;34(3):377-88. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2013.06.011. Epub 2013 Jul 30.


Objectives: Nursing is often regarded as a female-dominated profession. Many nursing curricula are received by mainly female students. It is uncertain how male students behave in this environment of nursing education in hospitals and universities. This article aimed to review gender differences in the academic and clinical performances of undergraduate nursing students.

Design: A systematic review was assessed and different themes were extracted by inductive approach.

Data sources: A search strategy was carried out for the period 2006-2011 utilising six computerised databases: Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, ERIC, MEDLINE, ScienceDirect, and the Wiley Online Library.

Review methods: Research studies were included and screened by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guideline. All articles in English that met our aim were selected and relevant results were abstracted and thematised.

Results: Fifty-five articles were included. Five themes were generated from the literatures, including the differences of academic, clinical, psychological, nursing profession identity and health concept between male and female nursing students.

Conclusions: Both genders performed similarly in different aspects. Most studies revealed that the clinical placement satisfaction of male students was similar to that of female, despite the negative experiences the former faced during obstetric placement. Further research is needed to examine the gender differences in studying and make changes in the nursing curricula to accommodate with male students.

Keywords: Academic; Clinical; Education; Gender; Nursing student; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Nursing
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexism
  • Students, Nursing* / psychology