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Degendering Male Nursing Students’ Intimate Care Provision: A South African Perspective

  • Simangele Shakwane1,*,

1Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, 0182 Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1810208 Vol.18,Issue 10,October 2022 pp.1-8

Published: 26 October 2022

*Corresponding Author(s): Simangele Shakwane E-mail:


Background: Male nursing students remain a minority group in nursing education and training programmes. They are thought to have diverted from their prescribed roles as men, leading to professional stereotypes and fear of providing intimate care. In addition, the lack of role models and support for male nurses adds to their frustration during clinical placement. The aim of this study was thus to understand male nursing students’ experiences when providing intimate care to diverse patients during clinical placement. Methods: A descriptive phenomenology design was employed. Male nursing students from two nursing education institutions in Gauteng province, South Africa, were purposively sampled based on their experiences and their exposure to providing basic nursing care requiring physical closeness and touch. Twelve (12) male nursing students participated in individual semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using phenomenological analysis of horizontalisation, creating meaning and essence of intimate care experiences. Results: Four themes emerged from intimate care experiences, which were (1) helping others with basic physical care; (2) cultural issues related to touching naked bodies of diverse patients; (3) adherence to basic nursing care principles; and (4) discomforting reactions during intimate care and touch. Conclusions: Male nursing students are willing to provide quality care to diverse patients. However, some do not accept intimate care and touch based on gender. For male nursing students to be competent in caring for patients, they must be able to provide intimate care to diverse patients confidently and comfortably. Thus, degendering intimate care provision is essential for male nursing students—to provide care without fear of being stereotyped and misinterpreted as sexual predators. Instead, they must be accepted as nurses who are helping patients with their physical needs.


basic nursing care; cultural issues; intimate care; male nursing students; touch

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Simangele Shakwane. Degendering Male Nursing Students’ Intimate Care Provision: A South African Perspective. Journal of Men's Health. 2022. 18(10);1-8.


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