ERIC Number: ED494848
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Navigating into Nursing School and the Gender Gap: Second Choices, Second Careers and Second Incomes
Gransee, Lynn J.
Nursing is a care giving career, and one that has been numerically dominated by women. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine whether the current social requirements of masculinity and femininity enhance or diminish entry into nursing. This study looks at gender through an analysis of the similarities and differences in the narratives of nursing students. These students ranged in age from early 20s to 50s and differed in years of nursing school completed. Twenty-five nursing students (17 female and 8 male) responded to poster advertisements or personal recruitment efforts and completed a semi-structured interview. All interviews were tape recorded and fully transcribed for analysis utilizing grounded theory methodology. While the common themes of desire to care, nursing as a second choice, practicality in career choice, financial compensation as both incentive and concern, and educational barriers united the male and female participants, some themes were unique to each gender. For women, the theme of combining career and family was predominant, and nursing seemed to offer an opportunity to do so. The central theme for men was additional barriers to entry, based upon gender stereotyping and stigma. Factors seen as influencing the number of men in nursing include the economy and societal acceptance of men as nurses. These results suggest that while the current social requirements for feminine behavior support the entry of women into nursing school, the requirements for masculine behavior continue to make entry into nursing school a difficult choice. The social construction of gender impacts career choices today in complex ways, and the interrelationship of current gender requirements to work choice needs to be a continuing topic of study.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A