International Nurses Day: Sunderland University lecturer backs calls for more men to enter profession

Trainee nurses at Sunderland University.
Trainee nurses at Sunderland University.

A senior lecturer at Sunderland University is calling on more men to consider a career in mental health and learning disability nursing.

Glenn Batey qualified as a learning disability nurse in 2009 and is a senior lecturer in the city.

Students at work.

Students at work.

Ahead of International Nurses Day on Sunday, he has spoken of how the traditional views of nursing as a career for women continue today.

Just 10.8% of registered nurses were men in 2017, according to data from the Nursery and Midwifery Council.

Glenn, who lectures in pre-registration Learning Disability Nursing, is highlighting the need for more men to enter this sector.

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

Glenn Batey, a Senior Lecturer in Pre-Registration Learning Disability Nursing at Sunderland University.

Glenn Batey, a Senior Lecturer in Pre-Registration Learning Disability Nursing at Sunderland University.

“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.”

Sunderland University last year launched its new BSc Nursing Practice courses in mental health and learning disability nursing in partnership with NHS Foundation Trusts.

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

He hopes having more men in the profession will help those in need to use mental health services.

Jonathon Swales, Declan Munnelly and Glenn Batey.

Jonathon Swales, Declan Munnelly and Glenn Batey.

Jonny added: "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."

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

He supports people with learning disabilities to move out of hospitals and into the community, and said the role of the learning disability nurse is important in ensuring people get the necessary support to meet their needs.