Perceptions of nursing as a career option held by men with experiences in military health care.

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Philip W. Julian (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Linda Mayne

Abstract: Despite notable efforts to present nursing as a viable career for men the profession remains predominately female and the modest changes in the numbers of men has not kept pace with the increasing demand for nursing services. In contrast to professional nursing men comprise the majority of direct care providers in the military health care as medics hospital corpsmen and medical technicians. These men receive training and patient care experiences that would seem valuable assets in nursing practice yet nursing fails to attract them in large numbers. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe what men currently in military health care roles think about nursing as a career option after military service. Focus group interviews were conducted with 27 men engaged in direct patient care duties at 3 military health care facilities. Thematic content analysis was used to identify concepts patterns and themes that emerged from transcripts of the narrative data. The pervasive theme derived from the analysis was that participants did not view nursing as an appealing career and perceived nurses as "overworked underappreciated" for the education responsibilities duties and liabilities they incur in the healthcare environment. They revealed a conflicted perception about nursing respecting many qualities and attributes while dismissing other aspects of the occupation as unappealing. Secondly informants indicated they already performed most of duties required for nursing practice but lacked the credentials to employ these capabilities outside the military health care environment. Finally the participants considered the obstacles presented by both military structure and schools of nursing policies as significant barriers to pursuing nursing as a career during and after military service. Exploring the experiences of men in nursing and teaching has significant implications for recruitment and retention in a profession with historically low numbers of men. The information gained from the investigation enhanced the understanding how men in military health care perceive nursing as a career option and suggested a number of actions to encourage men to consider nursing as a career option after military service. 

Additional Information

Date: 2012
Counseling psychology, men in nursing, military health care, nursing shortage

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