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The experience of gay male student nurses: private lives and professional boundaries

Clarke, David 2015. The experience of gay male student nurses: private lives and professional boundaries. Presented at: Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference 2015, Nottingham, 20-22 April 2015.

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Abstract

Background: This research explored how male gay student nurses negotiate their gender, masculinity and gay sexuality within the professional boundaries of nursing. Furthermore, it identified how these students negotiate issues of caring and the formation of therapeutic relationships with their patients, as men and gay men. Aims: The aim of my research was to investigate how gay nursing students negotiate their sexuality in the differing spaces of clinical practice and the university. Methods: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with eight gay male nursing students between 2009 and 2012. The theoretical framing of this research drew upon Goffman's theories of presentation and performance of the self and Rubin’s ‘charmed circle'. Moving between these two analytical frameworks, I examined and drew together the experiences of these students and examined their negotiation of the nursing role as gay men. Results and discussion: I argue that the experience of these students and the negotiation of their sexuality as student nurses is fraught and precarious due to the complexities and boundaries of professional nursing roles in contemporary healthcare. Specifically I argue that the experience of these gay students in university life is very different to their experience of clinical practice. I argue that the negotiation of the public and the private in clinical practice is a complex endeavour. Conclusion: What this study has unearthed is the complexity that the gay nursing students in this study had to negotiate to develop their identity as male nurses. Furthermore, the complexity of these endeavours was not restricted to issues of disclosure or non-disclosure of their sexuality, but much more engrained and fundamental to the development of their performance of nursing and their professional identity as nurses. This presentation will explore the contrasting experience of these students in clinical practice and the university and their negotiation nursing roles.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2017 22:05
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/73027

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