Perceptions of high school boys toward nursing as a career choice
The United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage expected to intensify over the next decades. Compounding this problem are nursing school enrollments insufficient to meet the projected demand for nursing care. One suggested strategy is to increase the interest of young men in the nursing profession, as more young women are attracted to a variety of other career options.
This dissertation report presents findings from a study exploring the perceptions of nursing as a career choice among high school boys. The research instrument was adapted, with permission, from a tool developed by May, Austin, and Champion (1488) for a study conducted by Sigma Theta Tau, International on the perceptions of the public on nursing and ideal careers. This modified tool was used to explore the perceptions of high school boys toward nursing as a career choice based on prestige, gender, and work activity factors. These factors have been identified in Gottfredson's Circumscription and Compromise Theory of Career Development (1981), and explain the persistent low interest of high school boys in female-dominated professions such as nursing.
Findings demonstrated that participants perceived the image of nursing positively in terms of prestige, gender-typed as a woman's occupation to some extent, and perceived the activity of nursing extending beyond hospitals and sick people. Discriminant function analyses indicated participants' scores on subscales of prestige, gender, and work activity predicted (a) participants' likelihood of considering nursing as a potential career choice (Wilks' Lambda = .969, p = .023*), and (b) acceptance of a male friend choosing nursing (Wilks' Lambda = .809, p < .001*). Findings suggest the image of nursing's prestige and gender must change before significant numbers of high school boys will include nursing within what is described by Gottfredson (1981) as a zone of acceptable career choices.
Secondary school students;