How RGU helped me find my career path as a man in Nursing

Recent Adult Nursing graduate Keiren Cruickshank shares how he decided to become a nurse despite gender stereotypes and how RGU helped him in his journey to build his dream career looking after people.

What brought you into nursing?

When I left secondary school a little over ten years ago, I had no clear career path in my mind. I had spent my later teen years helping my granny care for my grandfather at home so all I knew was that I wanted a career centred around helping people.

Initially, I thought secondary education would give me the opportunity to support our next generation of young adults, so I enrolled at RGU to study Applied Sport and Exercise Science with a view of becoming a physical education teacher. Ultimately though, I graduated in 2016 still not knowing which path to follow which could lead to helping others.

After considering other areas of public service such as the police and the fire service, it wasn’t until I let go of my own insecurities about entering a traditionally female-centred profession that I considered becoming a registered nurse. I had little knowledge of the role of a nurse and had anxieties over being a male in traditionally female-orientated profession.

However, after contacting RGU for further information and support, they helped ease any fears I had, whilst describing the vast career options available for nurses. From there, with the financial support available in place, I was accepted onto the four-year honours degree and began my journey as a nurse.

What course did you do and why? What are the challenges?

I initially applied for and was accepted onto both the three-year and four-year Adult Nursing programmes. I chose the latter as I had previous experience of an honours degree and knew I wanted the opportunity towards the end of the programme to further explore areas of nursing aligned with my personal interests.

The delivery of course content at RGU and current funding available by the Scottish Government provided the perfect solution to logistical and financial challenges I faced with becoming a full-time student.

Studying at degree level can be challenging depending on what your own academic strengths are, however, I would the say that all the exams, essays etc. are all designed to ensure I can deliver the best care. When I faced academic challenges, I always kept this in the forefront of my mind.

What does your career look like going forward?

Nursing as a profession continues to evolve, there are new and innovative roles for nurses available that can help support how people are cared for. However, as a newly graduated nurse, I look forward to finding my feet as a staff nurse and taking the time to adjust to my new role.

As for the future, only once you have been on placement or worked in healthcare do you realise the career opportunities from a clinical, managerial or educational support point of view. All I know is that I want to continue to help support people and this requires continued learning and development as care demands change. This may look like studying at Master’s level in the future or taking a leadership role. For now, I’ll keep an open-mind and enjoy my new career!

Keiren Cruickshank

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