RGU on drive to attract more men into nursing and healthcare professions

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Bruce Harper-McDonald, Lecturer in Widening Access into Nursing
Robert Gordon University is to host a ‘Men in Nursing’ event to encourage more men into nursing and other healthcare professions as part of a drive to widen access to the profession.

The ‘Men in Nursing’ event is part of a wider ‘Celebration of Nursing’ campaign being led by the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedic Practice at RGU over the coming months, to encourage more people into nursing.

According to recent figures from the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), nursing remains one of the most gender-segregated jobs in the UK, with only 11% of nurses identifying as male. The University is working in partnership with NHS Grampian to encourage a more diverse workforce so that it better represents the community it serves.

The ‘Men in Nursing’ event takes place on Wednesday 14 June at the Ishbel Gordon Building on RGU’s Garthdee campus from 4pm to 7pm. RGU staff, students and colleagues from practice who will be hand to answer any questions about careers in nursing.

RGU’s Principal Lecturer for Recruitment and Widening Participation, Bruce Harper-McDonald, made the switch from an early career in finance to nursing and over the past twenty years, has built up an extensive career including a job delivering a nursing programme in Singapore. Bruce works part time as a district nurse and has also taken on the role to widen access into nursing at RGU.

Bruce said: ““As a male nurse, I’m keen to encourage more men to come forward into nursing. Nursing has typically been associated as a female profession, with only just over 11 per cent of UK Registered Nurses being male but this can change. We need to create the opportunities for a more diverse nursing workforce which better reflects the patient population that nurses care for and support.

“There are many reasons why men should consider a nursing career including the variety of careers on offer and the impact you can have to make a real difference to people’s lives. In a pre-nursing career, I worked in financial services at HBOS. I originally wanted to train as an independent financial advisor, however a combination of a lack of funding and a realisation that it was the human side of my job that I enjoyed most, convinced me to leave the sector.

“With a mortgage to pay and rising interest rates, I needed to find a role where I could study whilst working part-time. I was drawn to the person-centred nature of nursing and the job security it offered. Nursing promised a variety of careers, with a comprehensive pension and sick pay. What made it possible for me, was the Scottish Bursary System for nurse training.

“If anyone is considering a career in nursing, I’d tell them to go for it! The patients are the number one reason. The trust people give you look after them. No one will ever believe the person who sold them their first mortgage, but they will remember the person who held their hand when they or their loved one was sick. This has always kept me going in the hard times. The job satisfaction and role you can play. You can’t put a value on that. Now I’ve got the chance to help others into the profession."

Professor Susan Dawkes, Dean of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Practice at RGU said: “As the main provider of nursing, midwifery and paramedic education in the North-east of Scotland, RGU has a strong reputation for producing skilled, compassionate and professional graduates. We’re keen to widen diversity in the profession and that’s why we’re hosting our ‘Men in Nursing’ event as part of our ‘Celebration of Nursing’ campaign and working in partnership with NHS Grampian and our other Health Board partners to encourage people into nursing.

“Nursing is a highly regarded and exciting profession to be in as we make a real difference to people’s lives. Healthcare changes so quickly and so nurses need to be educated and skilled to a level that ensures they meet the needs of the patients they care for and at RGU we do just that.

“We provide education for those who want to become a registered nurse as well as also offering opportunities for higher level study (Master’s and doctoral degrees) and continuing professional development. While many people will think nurses mainly work in hospital wards, the range of opportunities for registered nurses is immense. Our nursing graduates may decide to work in areas such as emergency departments, intensive care units, hospices, general practice / community or even in the private sector as well as in education or leading or supporting research.

“As a UK registered nurse, educated to degree level you have an opportunity to work overseas and so it is such a rich and rewarding career to have. We are ambitious for our students and graduates, and we support them to realise their own ambitions for their nursing careers.

“I’d encourage anyone interested in finding out more about how they can make the switch to nursing or who wants to speak to people working in the field, to come along to our Celebration in Nursing events.”

As part of the Celebration in Nursing campaign, RGU is also hosting a Turn to Nursing event on Wednesday 24 May and an on campus Turn to Nursing event on Tuesday 30 May.

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