A Study Of The Performance Of Male Nurses As Care Givers In Selected Public Health Care Facilities In Kiambu County
The study analysed male nurses as care givers to document their performance in a profession perceived to demand qualities traditionally associated with women. The analysis of gender and its impact has predominantly focused on the experiences of women working in male-dominated fields. There is very limited research, in Kenya, conducted to explore the experiences of men working in female-dominated professions. This study, therefore, examined the role of male nurses as care givers by analysing their performance in selected public health care facilities in Kiambu County. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained from a sample of 48 male nurses, present in the selected research sub-sites during the research period. The areas of focus were on their motivations for entry into the careers, the rewards the male nurses considered most important, the male nurses' perceptions of their careers, self-evaluation of their performance and the coping mechanisms they employed to deal with the female-dominated work environment. Additional qualitative data was further obtained through interviews with 5 purposively selected key informants. The study found that most of the respondents were confident in their abilities to comfortably execute their duties. However, a number indicated they were either average and/or needed improvement in some areas such as communication skills, organisation and planning skills, and ability to handle complex health situations. This indicated a need for further training or retraining to build confidence and refresh the knowledge of the particular respondents. About 2.1% of the respondents reported having been subject to disciplinary action while a similar percentage were subject to a formal complaint from a patient. It was, none the less, important to note that 97.9% of the respondents had no disciplinary cases and /or formal complaints which painted a picture of a mostly effective and disciplined male workforce. On an even more positive note, 18.8% of the respondents had either been nominated for or were recipients of an award(s) due to their exemplary job performance. The study found there was need for: (i) reviewing of the enrollment policies for colleges and universities to increase the number of young men in nursing; (ii) development of policies that introduce gender mainstreaming to the nursing profession; (iii) development of programs that target boys in their early ages to introduce them to nursing; (iv) establishment of male-only awards as a means to highlight their performance; (v) there is need to conduct more research on the experiences of men working in female-dominated professions and the different psychological aspects of how the men deal with the predominantly female working environments; (vi) conducting research on the history men of nursing in Kenya; (vii) conducting research on the claims that some of the nurses were resorting to substance abuse as a way of dealing with the stress and/or due to the ease of accessibility.
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