Shortage of Male Nursing Students: The Experience of a Growing Nursing Program

Main Article Content

Marianne F. Moore
Yue Xie
Patrick Davis
Amanda Scarbrough


baccalaureate, education, male, nurses, nursing, students.


Background and Objective
The shortage of male nurses in the United States is a well-known phenomenon that the nursing academia is trying to remedy. This case study examines the experience of a new southwest US nursing program in its recruitment and retention of male nursing students. In the process, the case study will attempt to explore insights on opportunities to improve nursing workforce policies to better attract male recruits into the profession.

Data related to application, enrollment, and retention were retrieved and merged from the school’s application and enrollment systems. Overall, 978 students were enrolled from 2011 to 2019, with 837 females and 141 males. For applications, from 2014 to 2018, there were 2185 applicants, with 1879 females and 306 males. Statistical analyses were done using SPSS version 25 (IBM). Results are shown as means±standard deviation.

Results show that 14% of the applicants to the program were male, while 14.4% of the enrollees were male. In terms of retention, males had lower (73.8%) retention rates than females (83.9%), although it is not statistically significant (p=0.08). On average, there were significantly fewer male applicants and enrollees (p<0.001) than females, and the differences are getting larger (p<0.001).

Nursing shortage and, more specifically, the lack of male nurses is a well-known phenomenon in healthcare. Nursing schools have attempted to diversify enrollment through the recruitment of more male nursing students; however, their efforts seem to have hit a barrier with a continued shortage of male applicants. To change outcomes, the nursing profession and academia should consider providing more community education and outreach programs targeting students and their parents earlier in their academic careers.


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