Nursing Now England has collaborated with Butterfly Books – the publishing house set up by award winning chartered electrical engineer and author Kerrine Bryan – to produce a new children’s picture book that aims to tackle misconceptions about men’s role in nursing, at the grassroots.
My Daddy Is A Nurse, released on 22 January 2020, at Percy Shurmer Academy in Birmingham is the sixth book in a series of titles targeting 4 to 7 year-olds that has originally incorporated inspiring female role models undertaking jobs or professions ‘typically’ held by men. Previous titles include My Mummy Is A Plumber, My Mummy Is A Scientist and My Mummy Is A Soldier – the latter of which was released in March 2019 in collaboration with The British Army to showcase the diversity of jobs women assume within the forces: from veterinary surgeon to bomb disposal expert.
My Daddy Is A Nurse is the first book within the Butterfly Books series that showcases men working within a ‘traditionally’ female-centric profession. There will be plans in the future to also produce My Daddy Is A Care Worker in due course.
Nursing Now England, part of the global Nursing Now campaign run in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the International Council of Nurses, mobilised to raise the profile of the nursing profession in order to drive recruitment, inform policy-making, increase investment within the sector and refine best practice.
Nursing Now England together with colleagues from NHS England and NHS Improvement Campaigns team recently launched a TV advert as part of the “We are the NHS” campaign, to address and bridge the gender divide and skills gap in nursing by showing the varied work men undertake as nurses – from caring for babies in neonatal intensive care to treating young victims of violent street crimes, be that in hospitals across England or at makeshift medical centres in war zones abroad.
Dr. Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and an Executive / National Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement, commented: “We are committed to overturning the long-standing stereotypes that have historically deterred men from considering a career in nursing. It’s a stimulating, rewarding, highly purposeful job. Anyone who likes working with people, in teams, away from the desk, applying their specialist nursing knowledge in a job where no two days are the same should definitely consider nursing.
“Our partnership with Butterfly Books will see My Daddy Is A Nurse continue provoking much needed discussion, challenge biased norms and recast a tired narrative that has – for too long – positioned women exclusively for such jobs. While our advertising campaigns are very much targeted at Millennials, we recognise that gender stereotyping occurs at a very early age. So My Daddy Is A Nurse forms part of a 360 approach to tackling this, nipping the development of misconceptions around what constitutes ‘a man’s job’ or a ‘woman’s job’ in the bud before these are able to flourish.
Dr May continued: “This book has been shaped and designed with nurse ambassadors who have first-hand experience of the perceptions this book seeks to address. I am very grateful to them.”
Co-founder of Butterfly Books, Kerrine Bryan, set up the independent publishing house with her brother Jason Bryan in 2015 where, as a STEM ambassador, she volunteered doing talks about her job across the country to children as young as age 4 in schools as well as students at university.
It was here that she discovered how a lot of misconceptions about the profession of engineering had already permeated in children aged as young as 6 or 7, and are set by age 12 – misconceptions of which she believed to be partly responsible for the lack of gender diversity in typically male-dominated professions.
Bryan commented: “We’re proud to be part of a very empowering campaign that is subverting misconceptions around professions that have reinforced a gender divide. As part of the process, we have been inspired by so many different people – men and women alike – who embark in such work.
“The men who work as nurses are fiercely proud of their achievements and the vital role they play in healthcare. Their masculinity isn’t threatened; they are emboldened to have made it in a career that prizes intelligence, stamina, technical skills and empathy above all else. We hope to have done justice to this narrative within My Daddy Is A Nurse and hope that children can continue to dream about embarking in jobs where gender is not a barrier to entry or progression.”
Mark Radford, deputy chief nursing officer for England, commented: “Becoming a nurse was undoubtedly the greatest decision I ever made – while working on the frontline in operating theatres and emergency care I have enjoyed an exciting and fulfilling career.
“The NHS is delivering an ambitious, exciting programme of improvements to patients’ care as part of our NHS Long Term Plan, and nursing is a career for everyone, because you make a big difference to patients each and every day, so it is great to see ‘My Daddy is a Nurse’ challenging stereotypes and highlighting what a great career nursing is.”
In March 2020, Butterfly Books will also release My Mummy Is A Firefighter, in collaboration with the London Fire Brigade. Since the appointment of its first female Fire Commissioner, the brigade has campaigned hard to not only attract more women into applying for jobs, but also applicants from other communities too.
My Daddy Is A Nurse (Butterfly Books) is available to buy along with My Mummy Is A Soldier, My Mummy Is A Scientist, My Mummy Is An Engineer, My Mummy Is A Plumber and My Mummy Is A Farmer at www.butterflybooks.uk.
To coincide with the launch of the book and the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, Martin Fahy, the Birmingham and Solihull CCG’s Director of Nursing and Quality, reflects on his journey as a male nurse, which started in the late 1980s, here