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Abstract

Purpose: The aim of the current investigation was to compare and contrast societal perceptions and attitudes towards men in nursing as reported by male and female nursing and non-nursing university students. Methods: A comparative study design was employed to investigate societal attitudes and perceptions towards male nurses enrolled in school of nursing in a mid-sized university in Ontario, Canada. A convenience non-random sampling method was employed that consisted of undergraduate nursing (N = 82) and non-nursing (N = 67) students. Perceptions and attitudes towards men in nursing were assessed using the Attitudes Towards Men in Nursing Scale (ATMINS). Results: Sixty-seven non-nursing students partook in this investigation, including 36 males and 31 females. The non-nursing female students ranged in age from 19 to 25 years (mean = 21.6 +/- standard deviation [S.D.] 4.9), and non-nursing male students ranged in age from 19 to 37 years (mean = 23.9 +/- 4.9 S.D.). The nursing female students ranged in age from 19 to 44 years (mean = 21.8 +/- 8.8 S.D.), and the male nursing students ranged in age from 19 to 46 years (mean = 28.9 +/- 8.8 S.D.). Overall, both female nursing and non-nursing students were found to have less favourable perceptions and negative attitudes towards male nursing students. Conclusions and Recommendations: Our findings suggest that there is a general perception in Canadian society that nursing is a more suitable career choice for women than men. Moreover, societal perceptions and stereotypes towards male nurses (e.g., they are gay, effeminate, less compassionate and caring than females nurses) prevail, which may negatively contribute to their recruitment and retention in nursing programs. Greater efforts need to be taken to recruit more positive male role models in clinical practice and academia. Furthermore, recruitment ads for nursing should make greater efforts to portray the male presence in the profession.These strategies will help to address in part the current national and global shortages for nurses and also help to encourage diversity in the profession.

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