FOHSC Stories | James Ridley

James Ridley (known as Jim) is a Registered Nurse in the field of Learning Disabilities (RNLD) and a Senior Lecturer in Pre-Registration Nursing (Learning Disability) here at Edge Hill University.

Having worked with people since 1991, Jim started his career supporting older adults, first meeting people with a Learning Disability during a college course he was attending.
Throughout his career, Jim has worked in Healthcare (In-patient and Community), Social Care (across Residential and Day Services), Community Care and Specialist Care. He is an experienced Specialist Nurse and continues to work in areas specifically related to people with Learning Disabilities.

We asked Jim what inspired him to start working in Health and Social Care, to which he replied:

‘I wasn’t a typical sporty kid, so part of being in my school was either choosing sports or something to do with community service. This meant working with children or working in older people’s service. I chose community and went into an older people’s day service. I really enjoyed being with the people there and found that I had a lot to offer, I loved spending time with them.’

Jim shared that learning sign language designed for those who were deaf and blind became something that meant the most to him during his time at the Day Service; he was taught how to sign by an individual who herself was deaf and blind and this opened up new experiences in terms of communication and relationships.

‘I could be a part of her world. To me, it’s important to be a part of someone’s world, and support them in anything they need to do. That’s what made me realise I wanted to work with people’.

When questioned about those who inspire him, Jim expressed that the people he supports are his biggest inspiration.

‘Families I’ve met and colleagues I have worked with, regardless of their role, inspire me and that’s because they’re mainly doing what’s right for the people who are a part of their lives. For people with additional needs, it’s speaking up for them and supporting them. Advocating for people who may not have a voice, or supporting them to find their voice in all different ways.’

In the Health and Social Care sector, Jim believes that Men are breaking down barriers and stereotypes.

‘Caring is a profession. Working in Health and Social Care as a Nurse is a profession. It shouldn’t be gender biased – It’s about wanting to do the job and trying to do the job. Gender shouldn’t come into play. Being a male nurse can be difficult because you can be stigmatised and of course, this can influence people coming into the profession but it shouldn’t, because we have as much to give as anybody else.’

Jim explained that he’d like to see more male RNLD’s in the Health and Social Care sector and believes that in society, Nursing is considered a female orientated profession. Jim wants to see a shift in the belief that ‘only women can care’ and that regardless of gender, we all have something to share.

“Enabling people to see what working in Health and Social Care is all about will help people see beyond the gender bias.’

Our final question for Jim was ‘What one piece of advice would you give to a man debating entering the Health and Social Care sector?’ Jim replied:

‘Ask yourself, Why Not?

If you like a challenge and strive for a career which presents something different everyday, Health and Social Care is just that. We’re in a privileged position to help people live their lives, recover from illnesses and move forward, and you can’t take that away from working in Health and Social Care. I think that as a man working in Health and Social Care you should always be in that position of asking ‘Why Not?’

It’s worked for me.’

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

FOHSC Stories | Ed Horowicz

Edmund Horowicz, Edge Hill University

Edmund Horowicz (known as Ed) is a Senior Lecturer who teaches Law and Ethics in the Faculty of Health and Social Care. He joined Edge Hill in 2014 after having worked as a Nurse in Perioperative Care since 2003.

When asked what inspired him to become a Nurse, Ed replied:

“I’d always thought I was very good at talking to people and wanted a job where I’d feel valuable and make a difference”.

He also shared that Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court, is one of his biggest inspirations for paving the way for a form in Family Law, Mental Health Law, and Healthcare Law.

Ed feels that traditionally, men have been viewed as being in gender-based roles – particularly Medicine. But further believes that men working in the Health and Social Care sector are now challenging this by working in all areas, which further supports the role of women within Medicine.

We asked Ed what kind of improvements or changes he’d like to see for men working in Health and Social Care, to which he shared:

“What we need is a cultural shift in respect of men being in caring roles. For example, my five-year-old would still think of a Nurse as being female. This is clearly presented within society as being the norm, and if we address this, we will see changes in the way that men are viewed”.

Ed’s one piece of advice to any man debating entering the Health and Social Care job sector is:

“Take outdated gender stereotypes out of the question and focus on what it is you want out of a career and follow that”.

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


FOHSC Stories | Imo-Obong Emah

Imo-Obong Emah, PhD, GTA, Edge Hill University FOHSC

Referring to himself as a ‘Medical Doctor turned Academic’, Imo Emah is a Graduate Teaching Assistant currently pursuing a PhD here within the Faculty of Health and Social Care.

Despite working professionally in the Health and Social Care sector for three years, Imo’s experience in the Medical field started from a much younger age. Medicine and Healthcare related topics often became dinner table discussion between his mother who is an Anaesthesiologist, and his father a Gynaecologist.

“I basically grew up in a clinic as my father ran his private practice from home, and from assisting him with work-related errands as a child (which often required technical knowledge) to the outreach and international work I did in Medical School and beyond, I feel like I’ve been working in the Health Industry all my life.”

When we asked Imo what inspired him to start working in Health and Social Care, he explained that his parents have been the biggest influence. After his experiences working in West Africa, Imo was also drawn into research for Public Health which prompted his career move to a more academic-focused role.

Imo added that many different people have inspired him along his journey, and at present, a big influence is Professor Dame Margaret Whitehead.

“Her independent and collaborative work on health inequalities and health improvement strategies strongly impacted on my decision to get into full-time research. Also, I had the pleasure of meeting her while studying in Liverpool, and for someone so accomplished, she was absolutely lovely and incredibly down-to-earth”.

When questioned about how men are making a difference in Health and Social Care, Imo responded:

“In every field, from the strategic work of policy-making and planning of health and social care services (including research for service evaluation and improvement), to the more tactical everyday delivery of those services. Health care – particularly of the medical and surgical sort – has largely been a male-dominated area, but men are (slowly but increasingly) getting involved in social care and other related fields as well, like counselling and health promotion”.

Imo disclosed that he would like to see a greater recognition of men’s caring capabilities in Health and Social Care, and he currently feels that men are publicly stereotyped as ‘unemotional’, ‘brash’, and only able to provide support in a technical capacity. Imo suspects that this misconception causes many men to eventually adopt this belief about themselves.

“I’d like for men to be seen as more than tough and logical and only suited for tasks that call for these attributes. We are human, with the full range of experiences and capabilities, and a recognition of these aspects will serve to remove a lot of barriers and improve the work we do”.

Our final question for Imo was ‘What one piece of advice would you give to a man debating entering the Health and Social Care sector’. Imo replied:

“Brace yourself. It gets hard sometimes (actually, a lot of times), and you’ll need a strong will to carry on”.

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

FOHSC Stories | Richard Williams

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.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2018

It is estimated that approximately 1.25 million people suffer from an Eating Disorder in the UK alone, and as a form of mental illness where the causes are still not fully recognised, it is important that we raise awareness and understanding around Eating Disorders and their associated symptoms.

On average, 149 weeks pass before those experiencing symptoms of Eating Disorders seek help –almost 1,043 days.

So what exactly is an Eating Disorder?

Eating Disorders are a type of mental illness, where the victim has an unhealthy attitude towards food. This can take over their life and make them severely ill. Typical behaviour of someone suffering from an Eating Disorder can include mannerisms such as:

  • Limiting the amount of food they eat
  • Eating very large quantities of food at one time
  • Getting rid of food eaten through unhealthy means such as vomiting or using laxatives
  • Mood swings that are determined by their food intake

Types of Eating Disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and OSFED (Other specified feeding and eating disorder).

Who suffers from Eating Disorders?

It’s important to understand that anybody can suffer from an Eating Disorder – They can influence anyone at any time, and it is becoming increasingly important that we do not associate Eating Disorders with stereotypes as these can be extremely harmful.

Studies have suggested that girls and young women between the ages of 12-20 are seen as most at risk, however similar studies have also shown that up to 25% of people who suffer from Eating Disorders are male.

Although figures have been taken from past research, current professors do fear that the number of sufferers amongst men, boys, older people, and people from ethnic or cultural minorities could be much higher due to the power of stereotyping which may sadly be causing these individuals to be reluctant in seeking help.

What can we do to help?

The aim of Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) is to raise awareness and get people talking about Eating Disorders and the types of support available to those who are suffering. As taken from the BEAT website (, the focus point of the campaign is to ‘tackle stigma and misunderstanding, and to help people understand that they are not alone.’

In many cases, Eating Disorders are treatable and despite tales told in society, people who suffer from Eating Disorders can make a full recovery.

Can we get involved?

To combat the stigma surrounding Eating Disorders, BEAT is running a ‘Sock it to Eating Disorders’ campaign this year as part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Open for everyone to join in, BEAT are asking us to dig out our brightest, boldest and silliest socks in the draw and wear them alongside donating to raise awareness and help BEAT to provide much needed support to those affected by Eating Disorders.

Take a look at our Faculty of Health Professional Support Staff wearing their craziest pairs of socks to #SockItToEatingDisorders, and remember that if you’d like to join in too, simply upload a photo in your wackiest pair of socks and hashtag #SockItToEatingDisorders to show your support!

Crazy socks in the wash? Not to worry!

BEAT have provided even more fantastic ways in which you can get involved this Eating Disorders Awareness Week, so why not try out one of the following? You could:

  • Host a bake sale, dinner party or coffee morning
  • Take part in national research and surveys
  • Share awareness posts on social media
  • Talk to friends, family and colleagues about Eating Disorders awareness
  • Encourage education surrounding Eating Disorders in your school or workplace
  • Offer to listen to others if you feel they are seeking support

(Don’t forget, that even though Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs from the 26th February – 4th March, suffering sadly doesn’t end there. BEAT work every single day to provide care to thousands of people struggling with Eating Disorders, and so support is greatly appreciated all year round).

For more information on Eating Disorders Awareness Week, please see BEAT:



Twitter: @beatED

Facebook: @beat.eating.disorders