Richard Williams (known as Richie) is a Registered Mental Health Nurse currently working as a Practice Education Lecturer and Practice Governance Lead here at Edge Hill University.

Qualifying in 2011, Richie worked in a local CAHMS Inpatient unit for 5 years before challenging himself to move into Nurse Education. In his current role at Edge Hill, Richie still spends a significant amount of time out in practice and continues to work clinically on the Nurse Bank whenever he can. This helps him to keep up to date and clinically competent.

We asked Richie what inspired him to start working in Health and Social Care, to which he replied that although the Health and Social Care sector had been in and around his family for many years, as a child he never really thought about a career within Nursing.

“I took the view of following my friends and did courses around Sports Development and Fitness. I quickly got bored of this and realised it wasn’t for me”.

After a conversation with his friend and mum, Richie decided to take a leap of faith and pursue a career in Mental Health Nursing.

“I didn’t know what to expect or what I was letting myself in for, but I am always up for a challenge!”

As his friend was in a similar situation at that time, Richie convinced him to join forces in Mental Health Nursing and so, they embarked on their new journey together.

“As they say, the rest is history! We both qualified as RN (Mental Health) 3 years later”.

Having not really thought much about a career in Nursing prior to starting his training, in the beginning, Richie didn’t know many people in the sector. When asked who inspires him Richie shared that his Mum, Dad, and Sister are very influential. He also expressed that the many students he comes across and their enthusiasm and desire to make a difference to the Health and Social Care sector are also a big inspiration.

Richie believes there are many men who are making a massive difference to Health and Social Care but in particular, Men’s Mental Health.

“Men have become more open to talking about their feelings and emotions and this has allowed for more meaningful discussions and therefore more appropriate help, care and support for people”.

We asked him what improvements or changes he’d like to see for men in Health and Social Care, to which he replied that we must concentrate on removing the ‘image’ surrounding jobs in the Health and Social Care sector. Richie advised of the damaging stigma attached to Health and Social Care jobs being ‘only for women’ and that it’s not seen as ‘cool’ for men to be involved. He believes this can be changed and the shift in attitude needs to start from children in schools.

“We must celebrate what we do and be ambassadors for the professions we are in”.

When asked what one piece of advice he would give to a man debating entering the Health and Social Care sector, Richie replied:

“Don’t worry about what people currently think or what they may think of you. If it’s what you want to do, then do it. My friends admire what I do and the work I put in to achieve it. When I tell them some of the things I have seen and had to do, the words I most commonly hear are ‘I take my hat off to you, I couldn’t do that’.”

We’d like to thank Richie for contributing to our series of blog post interviews as part of International Men’s Day 2018.