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Young male nursing applications surge following ‘We are the NHS’ recruitment campaign

A record breaking number of male school leavers have applied to be nurses following the NHS England successful ‘We are the NHS’ recruitment campaign.

The number of 18-year-old men applying to study nursing has increased by more than 45% in the past decade, according to new figures from UCAS, the body that arranges university courses.

There has been a total nine per cent jump since last year in men applying to study nursing, showing that attitudes are changing towards a career that has often wrongly been portrayed as a female profession.

Charles Venn, an actor from Casualty who plays nurse Jacob Masters, welcomed the rise and said he hoped his role has helped change misconceptions of the profession.

He said: “It’s really encouraging to see that more men are considering a career in nursing. It’s been an honour playing a male nurse in Casualty.

“Portraying Jacob for the last few year has, I hope, broken down barriers and misconceptions about what a traditional nurse looks like. I hope this is just the start.”

A total of 30,650 people applied for nursing degrees this year, a 4.3% total increase in the last year.

Frankie Caruana, a senior orthopaedic practitioner from William Harvey Hospital, Kent, said: “It surprises me that some people still think nursing is not an option for men. I never feel prouder than when I’m making a difference to people’s lives day in, day out. I’d recommend a nursing career to anybody – man or woman.

“Nurses in the NHS touch lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most and work as part of a supportive and inspiring team of people, who contribute to a valuable and enjoyable career.”

The ‘We are the NHS’ campaign highlighted the range of opportunities available in the NHS for new recruits and put the spotlight on nursing.

The campaign aimed to prioritise key areas such as mental health, learning disability and community and general practice nurses – all helping to deliver the long-term plan for the NHS.

Paul Vaughan, director of nursing for transformation at NHS England, said: “Nurses are at the heart of people’s NHS care so it’s encouraging to see such an uptake in nursing applications since the launch of the campaign – especially among men.

“We want to get young people, including boys, to think about a career in nursing from an early age, which is why NHS England has been working for some time with families and schools to highlight the huge positive impact we can have for patients and the many roles available within the profession.

“Nursing opens up so many doors into healthcare, while the role of nurses and midwives has also changed, with roles working in GP surgeries and caring for those with mental ill health and learning disabilities opening up to new nurses.”

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Tamara Birch