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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 20, 2023

Barriers and facilitators to enrolling in nursing programs as perceived by male students: a qualitative study in the United Arab Emirates

  • Muhammad Arsyad Subu ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Fatma Refaat Ahmed , Nabeel Al-Yateem ORCID logo , Jacqueline Maria Dias , Syed Azizur Rahman , Mohannad Eid AbuRuz , Muna Mohamed Hassan , Safa Hamed Hamad , Shaika Al Mubarak Al Ghafli , Zuleikha Hassan and Aisha Rashid Alnaqbi



Despite the cultural challenges and stigma associated with nursing in the United Arab Emirates, there has been an increase in male nursing students. It is therefore important to understand barriers and facilitators that influence their decision to choose nursing education.


This qualitative study used purposive sampling to recruit 30 male undergraduate students. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and data were analyzed with thematic analysis.


Ten themes were identified that described barriers and facilitators to choosing nursing programs as perceived by male students. Four themes reflected barriers and six themes were identified that encompassed facilitators to choosing nursing programs.


For international audiences, our findings could be helpful in enhancing both the recruitment and educational opportunities for male nursing students. Male students may be inspired to pursue the nursing profession by the presence of men in the profession and favorable male role models. Effort is needed to recruit male role models in nursing schools.

Corresponding author: Muhammad Arsyad Subu, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; and Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Universitas Binawan Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia, E-mail:


The authors acknowledge the study participants, Head of the Nursing Department, faculty members, and staff of the nursing program at the College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, for their contribution to this study.

  1. Research funding: No funding from any organization or institution was received for this study.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The University of Sharjah Research Ethics Committee approved this study (Reference Number: REC 20-02-05-01-S).


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Received: 2022-08-24
Accepted: 2023-02-04
Published Online: 2023-02-20

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