Gender Bias in Nursing

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Gender-bias in Nursing Education: Some Factors Affecting Student Recruitment and Retention
Arthur W. Keating
Dynamics of Professional Nursing
Winston Salem State University

The U.S. is currently facing a shortage of trained nurses. The AACN factsheet (Rosseter, 2012) references a number of indicators which predict the current nursing shortage will continue to grow at least through the year 2020. This reflects continued job growth in nursing sector as well as the need for replacements for nurses planning to retire. This is exasperated by the shortage of nursing faculty restricting nursing school enrollment. With all factors considered the total deficit could reach one million nurses by 2020. The solutions to this problem need to be comprehensive. One solution would be to actively make the nursing workforce more diverse. This includes research and implementation of new strategies which encourage men to enroll in nursing education programs as well as new strategies which increase male retention during education and during their career. Unlike other professions, which have seen a steady increase in female participation, nursing has made no sweeping changes to create a better gender balance in its workforce. Consider the growth of the number of females in traditionally male dominated professions like medicine. In roughly the same 30 year time period, enrollment and graduation of women in medical education has increased from 17% to almost 50%, whereas male enrollment in nursing school has only gone from 2.7% to roughly 5%. Traditionally the nursing workforce has been female and predominantly white. As more career opportunities open up for women in other fields, the nursing profession can no longer expect an unlimited supply of women to fill openings. While minority female recruitment continues to increase, men are represented in nursing at a steady rate
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