BSc (Hons) Health Policy and Management 2004
Having worked as a nurse in Birmingham, and then as a lecturer in nursing at Birmingham City University, Mike is now supporting the profession as the Regional Director of the Royal College of Nursing in the West Midlands.
Mike trained as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham between 1992 and 1995 and worked for several years at Selly Oak Hospital in general and respiratory medicine.
He then returned to education, undertaking a degree in Health Policy and Management at Birmingham City University, after which he remained here in various lecturing and management roles, including the support of practice learning across his faculty.
He later became Associate Head of School for Nursing and Midwifery and was heavily involved in managing the changes affecting nursing students and staff in recent years – experience he has taken into his new role with the RCN, where he represents the interests of 40,000 members across the West Midlands Region.
“After working in practice for several years, I felt like I needed a bit of a change, and needed to push myself to move my career forwards. I was studying part-time alongside my work, so it was a busy time for me, but I also felt I was learning a lot, and it was also the first time I felt I was learning for its own sake, rather than just because I needed a particular qualification. I enjoyed meeting a lot of different people from different backgrounds and roles, not just nurses. It did change my outlook on nursing; I learned a lot more about accessing information and evidence, and questioning things in a way that I hadn’t before.
“The Managing Change module has really stuck with me – it taught me about taking people forward with you, and trusting them, rather than just telling them what to do. I’m a strong believer that kindness and understanding can be applied to any situation and, as nurses, we should always try to show this in how we interact with and care for patients, service users and each other.
“Just as I was finishing my course, a role came up in the Placement Support Unit at BCU which I thought would be a good change and a different way to use my qualifications and experience, but I only intended to do it for 12 months before returning to clinical practice. However, during that year, the Degree Programme Director got me doing a bit of teaching on the Adult Nursing course, which I really enjoyed, and I applied for a Senior Lecturer post, teaching modules on acute illness and also management and leadership, and then returned to the Practice Department, before finally becoming Associate Head of School.
“As Regional Director, I’m responsible for the whole RCN service for 40,000 nurses, with the support of the regional team and our network of stewards and reps on the ground. I see a big part of my role as trying to influence the local health sector, as well as co-ordinating national campaigns at a local level, to remove any barriers that nurses have to delivering good care.
"While my career has been in nurse education in recent years, I have always needed to maintain close links with health care practice partners, so I've been aware of the experiences and challenges faced by people in the nursing profession throughout this time. I am very aware of the challenges and stresses that many of our members face day to day and I’m totally committed to carrying on the good work that's been done in the West Midlands to support our members and champion our profession, and to explore new ways of engaging and supporting members.
“Becoming a nurse was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have enjoyed my career thoroughly so far thanks to the fulfilment that being a nurse offers – whether it's caring for people in practice, supporting students in training or showing support and compassion to colleagues or family members. I never had a career plan as such and my plan at the moment, as always, is to do my current role to the best of my ability. BCU has been very good to me, it has given me a lot of opportunities and it is an institution I greatly admire, so to be recognised by them as an Alumni of the Year was a very nice surprise, and a privilege.”