Are men treated differently in clinical placements during nursing studies? A cross-sectional study

Publication Name

Journal of Clinical Nursing


Aim and Objective: To explore the perceptions of nursing students regarding the treatment of men in nursing during their clinical placement. Background: Negative placement experiences of men who are nursing students is a risk factor for student attrition. Hence, exploring gender disparity in treatment during placement from both men and women studying nursing will contribute to improving student experience and reducing attrition. Design: Survey capturing both quantitative and qualitative data. Methods: Nursing students were surveyed between July and September 2021 across 16 Schools of Nursing in Australia. In addition to the Clinical Learning Environment Inventory (CLEI-19), an open-ended question explored if men received different treatment during clinical placement. Results: Those who expressed difference in treatment of men were less satisfied with their clinical learning experience (p <.001). Of the 486 (39.6%) who responded to the open-ended question, 152 (31%) indicated a difference in the treatment of men, reporting that men received: (a) better (39%); (b) different, not exclusively better or worse (19%); and (c) worse (42%) treatment from either the clinical facilitator or ward staff. While both men and women perceived gender differences in the treatment of men during placement, men were more likely to report worse treatment. Conclusion: Despite the advances achieved in recruiting men in nursing, negative experiences during clinical placement are characterised by stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, adversely impact retention. Relevance to clinical practice: Nurse educators need to recognise specific support students require during placement regardless of gender. Our findings reinforce the adverse impacts of inequitable treatment on both men and women nursing students on learning, clinical performance, morale and ultimately on retention in the nursing workforce. Addressing gender stereotyping and discrimination in the undergraduate nursing program is an important step in promoting diversity and inclusivity in the nursing workforce.

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