JULIO 2007 N° 7 Volumen 5

Gender stereotypes and nursing



Mª Dolores Burguete Ramos, Luisa Alcalá


Profesoras Escuela de Enfermería Universidad Católica de Valencia.

Contact address

Universidad Católica de Valencia. Escuela de Enfermería. C/ Jesús, 10. 46007 Valencia.


Introduction: gender refers to the functions and relations of men and women that are not based on biological factors (sex) but rather on social, economic, political and cultural factors; thus, they constitute the believes, personality features, attitudes, conducts and activities that differentiate men from women. In 1993, Annette M. Links conducted a study on the gender attitudes and stereotypes in relation to nursing among students recently admitted to the school.
Objectives: to describe the attitudes of first-year nursing students when faced with a stereotyped image of the professional. To describe first-year nursing students’ perception regarding the nursing role in today’s society.
Subjects and methods: this paper describes a first-part observational, descriptive and synchronic study.
A structured survey poll was carried out on a population consisting of a total of 343 first-year nursing students enrolled at the School of Nursing during the first few days after their admittance to the school and before they had any direct exposure with the healthcare system. Data collected were entered in a database in a Xbase format. The Minitab program was used for bi-multivariate statistical analysis of the data.

Results: the final number of completed surveys was 234. There is generalised agreement that women are more affectionate than men. In the rest of items, there is a tendency towards disagreement.
As regards the analysis per sex, it has been observed that women consider themselves more affectionate (P=0,011), less independent (P=0,000), less intelligent (P=0,011), with less leadership capacity (P=0,000) and with fewer promotion opportunities (P=0,015). Males regard young nurses as sexual objects (P=0,029) and perceive older nurses as being bossy (P=0,018).
Conclusions: in broad lines, results suggest the persistence of nursing images in line with female stereotypes: angels/virgins, (alias warriors) or sexual objects. The scientific literature reports these as being common stereotypes. In conclusion, respondents agree that sex sets differences in perception.


gender; stereotypes; nursingstudents

Versión en Español


Estereotipos de género y Enfermería