Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers


Although men make up approximately 50% of the general workforce, they continue to be a gendered minority in nursing, representing only 6.6% of the registered nurse workforce in the United States (United States Department of Health Resources and Services Administration, 2010). Why are there not more men in nursing?

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how men came to choose nursing as a career, and to describe their perceived experiences in an associated degree ladder nursing program. Guiding the study was the theoretical framework of John L. Holland's work on career choice (1997). Qualitative methods were used to collect, analyze, and interpret the data. A purposeful sample of men enrolled in an associate's degree nursing program yielded six participants, who agreed to participate in three semi-structure audiotaped interviews. The interviews were transcribed and, through qualitative analysis, there emerged three categories that defined the experience of males in nursing: (1) the process of deciding to be a nurse, (2) the educational experience of being a male nursing student, and (3) the men's career choice satisfaction on having decided to become nurses.

The participants disclosed that their primary reason for entering nursing was to care for people, a motivation that was evident in their selfless regard for the welfare and rights of the patients for whom they were responsible. Overall, the men described their educational experience positively; however, they reported being challenged by their OB clinical experience, and expressed feelings of anxiety and uncertainty regarding the practice of touch, an integral component of patient care.

Social support from family and other male students impacted the respondents positively, while formal sources of support, such as mentoring from male instructors, could be improved to enhance male nurses' educational and clinical experiences. Recommendations for future research include interviewing females regarding their perspectives of men in nursing, perspectives regarding the questions that were asked, interviewing men from other nursing programs, and studying male graduates to identify the barriers existing in the workplace and motivations to remain in the profession.


Copyright Owner

Barbara Ann Cook-krieg



Date Available


File Format


File Size

198 pages