Peer support important for men in accelerated nursing degree programs

By Addy Hatch, College of Nursing

male_nurse_wsu_spokane SPOKANE, Wash. – Peer and mentor support can help students succeed in high-stress, accelerated nursing degree programs and might be especially important for men in those programs, according to a study conducted by faculty from the Washington State University College of Nursing.

The study described accelerated degree programs as an important tool in diversifying the nursing workforce. Previous studies have indicated higher enrollment by men in those programs compared with traditional nursing programs.

Male nursing barriers

Male nursing students in all programs, however, “continue to encounter barriers to entering and remaining in nursing, with experiences marked by discrimination, bias, gender stereotypes and feelings of isolation as a gender minority,” the study said.

The study received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and was published recently in “Nursing Outlook,”  the official journal of the American Academy of Nursing. The study was authored by six WSU College of Nursing faculty, two of whom have recently become affiliated with the University of South Carolina.

Peer support pivotal

The study indicates that peer support is important to men in accelerated nursing programs, and that men are more likely than women to report being highly satisfied with such support in school. For both groups, being dissatisfied with peer support was associated with lower odds of graduation.

The findings back up other studies that have shown peer mentoring plays an important role in nursing programs. Peer support programs allow nursing students to learn leadership and improve their problem-solving skills, and can help schools address a shortage of clinical placements and larger class sizes. Peer support also has been shown to help undergraduate students with personal and social adjustment, the study said.

The study’s findings suggest that peer support is an important factor in accelerated nursing degree programs, and that “continuous quality improvement strategies to improve student peer support may be warranted,” according to “Nursing Outlook.”

In 2016, WSU was one of four universities awarded grants through a competitive process by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AACN to advance the understanding of students in accelerated nursing programs.


Study title and authors: “Student Support in Accelerated Nursing Programs: Gender-Based Perspectives and Impact on Academic Outcomes.” Demetrius A. Abshire, PhD, RN; Janessa M. Graves, PhD, MPH; Mary Lee Roberts, PhD, RN; Janet Katz, PhD, RN; Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, PhD; Cynthia F. Corbett, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Media Contact:

  • Addy Hatch, communication director, WSU College of Nursing, 509-324-7340, addy.hatch@wsu.eduNursing Center of Excellence badge