The UK nursing workforce is facing a crisis. More nurses are leaving than entering the profession, and there are tens of thousands of unfilled vacancies. Political factors are having a significant impact on numbers; in particular the decision to withdraw bursaries for nursing undergraduates, and a steep decline in EU nurses registering to work in the UK post-Brexit. Against this backdrop, there is a stark gender imbalance in the workforce, with only around 11% of registered nurses being male. We surveyed UK higher education institutions to try to identify whether the gendered nature of nursing was considered a concern and whether steps were being taken to address it. We sent an electronic survey to every UK university offering undergraduate nurse training validated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). With a response rate of 42%, the majority of respondents felt that nursing departments should take much more responsibility to increase the proportion of male nurses entering the nursing profession. More needs to be done to diversify the workforce and make nursing an appealing career choice for men and women.
Clifton, A., Higman, J., Stephenson, J., Rubio Navarro, A., & Welyczko, N. (2018). The role of universities in attracting male students on to pre-registration nursing programmes: an electronic survey of UK Higher Education Institutions. Nurse Education Today, 71, 111-115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2018.09.009