Recruiting males to the nursing profession: Acceptability testing of the ‘Make a Difference with Nursing’ intervention for post-primary school students.

Mark A. Linden, Gary Mitchell, Susan Carlisle, Deborah Rainey, Caroline Mulvenna, Catherine Monaghan

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Background: The nursing profession is facing a worldwide recruitment shortage which could be partially addressed by recruiting more males. However, in many developed countries numbers of males nurses have traditionally been low. To address this issue we developed and tested a post-primary school-based intervention to recruit more males into the nursing profession.
Methods: Thirty-four female students drawn from an all-girls post-primary school, fifty-one males from an all-boys post-primary school and seven males and fifteen females drawn from a mixed gender post-primary school, all located in Northern Ireland. Participants were all sixteen years of age and were in receipt of careers education. The intervention titled ‘Make a Difference with Nursing’ was co-designed with careers teachers, nurses and post-primary school students. This video based intervention was created to fit within existing career lessons and featured nursing staff and students describing their experiences of the profession. Participants completed the six domains of Nursing as a Career Choice Questionnaire prior to viewing the intervention and again after viewing.
Results: Positive and statistically significant increases in perceptions of the nursing profession were found between pre and post test scores across all six domains. No statistically significant differences in perceptions were found between males and females after watching the intervention. Comparison by school type showed statistically significant differences on the domains of prior healthcare exposure (p=0.046; 95% CI -0.19 to 3.79) and job prospects (p=0.005; 95% CI 1.04 to 7.01). Students from the all-girls school rated these more positively than those from the all-boys and mixed-gender schools.
Conclusions: A short video presentation to post-primary school students is capable of changing how they perceive the nursing profession. Students expressed surprise over the variety of professional nursing roles suggesting that many were not well informed about the realities of nursing. Providing tailored resources for use in careers lessons can better educate students and teachers about nursing and provide positive portrayals of male role models in the profession.
Original languageEnglish
Article number173
JournalBMC Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 04 Jul 2022


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