Young male nursing applicants surge after ‘We are the NHS’ recruitment campaign

A record breaking number of male school leavers have applied to be nurses following NHS England’s successful “We Are The NHS” recruitment campaign.

The number of 18-year-old men applying to study nursing has increased by more than 50% in a decade, according to new figures from UCAS, the body that arranges university courses.

Since last year, there has been a total 9% jump in men applying to study nursing, showing that attitudes are changing towards a career that has often wrongly been portrayed as a female profession.

The overall trend of declining nursing applications seen in recent years has reversed following the launch of the “We Are The NHS” campaign launched to coincide with the health service’s 70th birthday last summer.

A total of 30,650 people applied for nursing degrees this year, up 4.3% on 2018. Applications had previously dropped by almost a third, 31%, between 2016 and 2018.

Some 2,650 men applied for nursing and midwife courses, up 210 on the previous year.

Frankie, a Senior Orthopaedic Practitioner from William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, 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.”

Director of Nursing for transformation at NHS England Paul Vaughan 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 amongst 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.”