Gender-Related Barriers and Image in Nursing: Predictors of Caring Behaviour Among Male Nursing Students

Friday, 20 July 2018

Hsiang-Chu Pai, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing, Chung-Shan Medical University; Chung-Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
Chao-An Hung, MSN, RN
Department of Nursing, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital; Chung-Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
Pei-Ling Wu, MSN, RN
Department of Nursing, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan


Previous studies highlighted that male nurses face many gender-role strains in the current nursing environment. These challenges result decreased self-worth, self-esteem, image, and professional growth in male nursing students. Gender-related barriers may also impact the vital relationship between professional image and caring behaviour.We examined the relationships among nursing students’ perceived nursing image, caring behaviours, and gender-friendly barriers to determine whether gender-friendly barriers affect nursing image and caring behaviour among male nursing students.


We employed a quantitative research design with 141 male students (mean age = 21.39 years, standard deviation = 1.32) who had obtained at least 1 month of clinical practice experience. We collected data using three instruments: The Caring Assessment Report Evaluation Q-sort (CARE-Q), Gender-friendliness Barriers in Nursing Programs (GFB-NP), and Nursing Image–as a Profession questionnaire (NIPQ). Data were collected from August 2016 to July 2017. We used SPSS 20.0 version to perform descriptive analyses (e.g. means and standard deviations (SDs)). Partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) with bootstrapping was used to test the hypotheses model because PLS has more power than other techniques with small sample sizes.


The full model results indicated a direct positive and significant path from professional image to caring behaviour (β = 0.47, t = 9.66). Barriers were significantly negatively correlated with professional image (β = -0.31, t = 4.77) and caring behaviour (β = -0.18, t = 3.12). In addition, the path coefficient of an interaction construct (nursing professional image × gender-friendly barriers) to predict caring behaviour was -.043 for the interaction, which was negative and significant (t = 2.13).


Male nursing students perceived that professional nursing image directly affected caring behaviours. In addition, students perceived that gender-friendly barriers moderate the relationship between professional image and caring behaviour. This has implications for nursing education, where the goal should be to improve male nursing students’ caring behaviours and image and decrease gender-friendly barriers, which can be accomplished by more effective clinical practice design.