BACKGROUND: Male nursing students are faced with more challenges in the clinical setting than their female counterparts. The ways in which male nurses are viewed and received by nursing staff and patients have an impact on how they perceive themselves and their role in the profession. These perceptions of self have a significant impact on their self-esteem. This study was conducted to explore the clinical learning experiences of male nursing students at a university during their placement in clinical settings in the Western Cape Province, and how these experiences impacted on their self-esteem.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the learning experiences of male nursing students during placement in clinical settings, and how these impact on their self-esteem.
METHOD: A qualitative, exploratory study was conducted. Purposive sampling was used
to select participants. Three focus group (FG) discussions, consisting of six participants per group, were used to collect data. Data analysis was conducted by means of Coliazzi’s (1978) seven steps method of qualitative analysis.
STUDY FINDINGS: The following three major themes were identified: experiences that related to the constraints in the learning environment, the impact on the self-esteem, and the social support of students working in a female-dominated profession.
CONCLUSION: Male nurses should be supported in nursing training, as the rate at which males enter the profession is increasing.