Ben Broad is a 21-year-old registered mental health nurse. Here’s his story, the reasons he loves his job and why he believes more men should be nurses.

When I was doing my A levels I was focused on doing subjects I enjoyed, including psychology and sociology. It wasn’t until I chatted to someone who’d recently completed their mental health nursing training that I did some research into this area and discovered just how ideal a career it would be for me.

No desk job for me

After graduating from Mental Health Nursing at Plymouth University, I started working in a secure mental health hospital. The patients are a risk to themselves and/or others and have criminal backgrounds, arriving at the hospital at the time of sentencing or whilst in prison. When they arrive they’re often highly distressed and part of my role as a Mental Health Nurse is to help them on the road to recovery or improvement and to ultimately leaving the hospital, ready to start the next chapter of their lives.

I found the role tough to start with but the good more than outweighed the bad and I regularly end the day with a smile on my face. Our organisation is very focused on staff wellbeing and I’m supervised by a senior member of staff who I have a monthly 1:1 with. As a newly qualified nurse I attend group supervision sessions and a monthly study day. We have speakers come in to teach us and the opportunity to chat and exchange ideas and thoughts with other newly qualified nurses. It’s an invaluable support network.

In my role I have two primary patients who I’m responsible for, which includes liaising with consultants and psychologists, as well as administering medicine, the legal side of their care and providing 1:1 support. I really enjoy the high level of interaction with these patients and the fact that I can develop a deeper relationship with them and gain their trust. Most of our patients have experienced a traumatic background so that level of trust doesn’t come easily, it’s rewarding to build this up and it makes the road to recovery much more likely. Where possible I also link with patients’ families, as working together with the family often has better outcomes for the patient.

Men can be nurses too!

I love my role; to anyone considering the same career path as me I would suggest doing your research– speak to people in the role, go to a ward and meet the team to see what it’s like. I did voluntary work in a care home supporting people with mental health disabilities for two weeks, which was ultimately what drove me to apply to university and become a nurse. I definitely had a preconception that nursing was a female profession, but I couldn’t be more wrong – the gap between the number of female and male nurses on wards is becoming ever smaller.

Enthusiasm is the most important asset in my role, and patients react well to it. I’m a people person and I love being on the ward, talking and engaging with the patients and it’s this that makes the real difference. A smile goes a long way to building those important relationships.