‘Record-breaking’ number of young men applying to study nursing

A total of 30,650 people applied for undergraduate nursing degrees this year – 2,650 of these being men. 

Matt Bodell
26 February 2019
nurse on ward

The number of 18-year-old men applying to study nursing has increased by more than 50% in a decade.

Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the organisation that oversees the university application process, show that applications from 18-year-old men to study nursing increased from 290 to 440 between 2009 and 2019 – an increase of 66% in 10 years.


A total of 30,650 people applied for undergraduate nursing degrees this year – 2,650 of these being men.

NHS England claims the multi-million pound “We Are The NHS” recruitment campaign, aimed at changing attitudes towards a career stereotyped as female-dominated, has helped to break down the misconceptions about men in nursing.

Nursing has changed.

Paul Vaughan, NHS England’s Director of Transformation, 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.”

Breaking stereotypes.

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Chief Nurse, Health Education England said: “HEE welcomes the increase in the number of applications to nursing and midwifery courses, especially among 18-19 year olds who were the focus of our #KnowAboutNursing campaign last summer, and our work to support the “We are the NHS” campaign.

“Through these campaigns we have also worked with NHS England, NHS Improvement and the DHSC to challenge the stereotypical image of nursing as a female career so the increase of 9% among male applicants (19% among 18-year-olds) is particularly excellent news.


“We know there is still much to do so we will continue to work with partners to attract even more people to nursing as a career, leading to better care for patients.”

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