Traditional views of nursing as a career for women still prevail, according to a University of Sunderland lecturer.

Glenn Batey, a Senior Lecturer in Pre-Registration Learning Disability Nursing at the University, as well as a qualified learning disability nurse, was speaking ahead of International Nurses Day on Sunday.

According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), just 10.8% of registered nurses were men in 2017. While, today, images of male nurses draw thoughts of Charlie Fairweather in Casualty, there remains a drought in public images of male nurses in other fields of the vast profession.

In 2018, the University of Sunderland launched their new BSc Nursing Practice courses in mental health and learning disability nursing in partnership with local NHS Foundation Trusts.

Glenn, who qualified as a learning disability nurse in 2009, this week highlighted the need for more men to enter the learning disability sector of the nursing profession.

He said: “Although learning disability and mental health nursing have a higher percentage of men working in the respective fields, the numbers are small.

“With greater demand for services with ever increasing levels of complex health needs there is a need for greater diversity and people who can bring a wealth of life experience to the profession.”

Jonny Swales is a student mental health nurse and joined the Sunderland programme to help break down barriers around mental health amongst men.

He said: “With more men seeking help for mental health problems than ever before it’s important that we have more men training as mental health nurses to support this.

“I believe this will encourage those most in need to use mental health services.”

Declan Munnelly is a former University of Sunderland student who now works as a learning disability nurse for Tees Esk Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

Declan supports people with learning disabilities to move out of hospitals and into the community.

Declan said: “People with learning disabilities need access to specialist services to support their health needs. The role of the learning disability nurse has evolved to providing specialist support around complex physical healthcare needs, positive behaviour support and psychological interventions to highlight just a few.”

International Nurses Day is celebrated on Sunday, May 12.

Learning disability and mental health nursing offer a wide-range of career opportunities both in the NHS and independent sector.  Professional roles range from working as a staff nurse to nurse consultant with a salary range from £24,214 to £50,819. Graduates from University of Sunderland nursing programmes are offered a guaranteed interview with their host NHS Trust upon successful completion of their programme.

To find out more about nursing programmes at the University of Sunderland, click here