Gender and nursing in Ghana: An explorative study of the reasons male nurses leave the bedside


Male nurses are reported to be stereotyped and discriminated against, lowering their interest in the profession and leading to higher attrition rate amongst them. The few that remain have also been reported to gravitate towards the islands of masculinity within the profession. However, in Africa, there is a paucity of literature with respect to the experiences of male nurses and their impacts on career decisions. This paper examined how gender influences male nurses’ decision to leave the bedside in Ghana. It employed phenomenological qualitative design involving six key informant interviews and 24 semi-structured in-depth interviews with nurses. Transcribed qualitative data were analysed thematically. The findings showed that performance of ‘feminine’ tasks, expectations of patients and the general public, male-female nurse interaction and the need for autonomy compel male nurses were the key factors that influences male nurse to leave the bedside. The findings of this study underscore the need for heads of health institutions to adopt leadership styles that support male nurses and involve them in decision making at the wards and professional socialization to include helping nurses to discard internalised gender norms that prescribe certain tasks as masculine and others as feminine.