To establish a profile of men in nursing in Western Australia and explore the perception of men in nursing from the perspective of male and female nurses.
A project team, including some of the current authors, produced a YouTube video and DVD about men in nursing which led to further enquiry on this topic.
The study employed a non‐experimental, comparative, descriptive research design focused on a quantitative methodology, using an online survey in early 2014.
A convenience sample incorporated registered and enrolled nurses and midwives in Western Australia.
The range of data included demographic information and the respondents' perceptions of men in nursing were collected. Findings indicated that the main reasons for choosing a career in nursing or midwifery were similar for both genders. Common mis‐perceptions of men in nursing included: most male nurses are gay; men are not suited to nursing and men are less caring and compassionate than women. Suggestions to promote nursing to men included: nurses are highly skilled professionals; there is the potential to make a difference for patients; nursing offers stable employment, professional diversity and opportunities for team work. There is a diminished awareness of opportunities for men in nursing and negative stereotypes related to men in nursing persist.
The study produced recommendations which included: using the right message to target the recruitment for men and promoting a more realistic understanding of the profile and perception of men in nursing.