John Wright
Standing up to Stereotypes!
Forget the old image of nurses as angels in starched aprons. At the age of !!!, John Wright has just completed the Bachelor of Nursing degree at Napier University and has started work at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.

Reflecting on his experience, John says:
“I would say to anyone thinking of returning to education that age is no barrier. If I can do it, anyone can. SWAP access courses are excellent preparation for university and you will also make some great friends who will hopefully go right through university with you.”
Nowadays, it is not at all unusual to see male nurses on the wards of our hospitals, but not too long ago, Nursing was thought of as a profession for women. When John was a young man thinking about his future career, he knew inside that Nursing was for him. It was what you would call a vocation – a real calling to work in a hospital, caring for people. At the time, though, he knew what the reactions of family and friends would be.

“Nursing was perceived as a woman’s job that men just did not do.”
John set out on a less controversial career path and was successful in building up his own giftware manufacturing business. However, when recession hit the tourism industry, the small company was forced into liquidation and, John was facing an uncertain future. All he knew was that he wanted a complete change and a fresh start.
The world had changed in the 20 years since he left school. Traditional stereotypes had been challenged and more men now worked in Nursing. When he spotted an advert for SWAP Access Programmes in a local newspaper, John realised that he could have an opportunity to revisit his former ambition.
“I had very little confidence in my ability to go straight into a Nursing degree, as I had left school at 16 and had done no academic work in over 20 years. I decided to do Access to Nursing at Stevenson College as this course guarantees a place at university, providing you complete the programme successfully.”
Access to Nursing is just one of the range of SWAP Programmes on offer at colleges in Edinburgh and throughout the East of Scotland. Specifically designed for mature students, the SWAP programme lasts one year, making it a fast route into university for adults who do not have the usual entry requirements.
John was apprehensive at the start of his access programme. He wondered if he would be able to cope with a return to study at his age and if he would feel out of place among the other students. But SWAP programme tutors provided all the support he needed.

“In the end, the access course was a great preparation for the nursing degree at university. While studying subjects like Human Biology and Care, I was given insights into university life, as well as an introduction to time management and study skills. Ultimately, the course gave me confidence in my abilities and helped me to establish a work ethic that would otherwise have been difficult to prepare myself for.”
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