Skip to Content


Nursing and Midwifery for everyone

Over 90 primary-aged children today (Thursday 29th September 2022) attended a book launch at Queen’s University Belfast to inspire all genders to consider nursing or midwifery as a career.

The children heard readings of two books by primary-school children Eoghan Wade (10) and Jack McCaughey (7). They were then invited to learn more about nursing and midwifery as a career through meeting with clinicians and academics as well as simulating the skills carried out by nurses and midwives by using practical equipment. 

The two books, ‘Victor and the Virus’ and ‘Marcus has the surprise of his life’, were written by academics from the Queen’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, aiming to address the lack of male nurses and male midwives in both these health care professions. 

Mrs Debbie Duncan, Lecturer in Nursing Education at Queen’s and author explains what inspired her to write the book: “The majority of nurses and midwives are female, with only 10-11% identifying themselves as male nurses. This percentage is considerably lower for male midwives, even though a high percentage of obstetricians are male.  

“Thinking about the gender disparity is what drove me to write the first book during the first lockdown thanks to funds raised through a crowdfunding campaign. ‘Victor and the Virus’ is already in 150 NI school libraries, and I hope the book will inspire all genders to consider nursing as a career down the line.” 

Professor Donna Fitzsimons, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery, added: “We need to challenge the notion that caring is an exclusively female trait and encourage men and those who identify as non-binary into the professions. I hope that the launch of these books will showcase careers in nursing and midwifery to children and stimulate discussions with parents and teachers from an early age.” 

Co-author of Dr Maria Healy, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery Education, initiated writing ‘Marcus has the surprise of his life’ and highlighted that: “The disproportionate number of males in nursing and midwifery may have evolved from early school age stereotypical beliefs on gender appropriate professions, whereby nursing and midwifery were regarded as a career for girls, and for example, engineering as a career for boys. 

Dr Healy added: “We are delighted to welcome so many young children here today and I heard some excited children talking about how they too could ‘be a superhero’ like ‘Marcus’ (the child book character) had described the midwife in our book!”  

Seven-year-old Jack McCaughey in Primary 4, said: “I was really excited about coming to Queen’s today with my school. I really enjoyed the story of ‘Victor and the Virus’.  I loved having the chance to read this book to the other children today and to talk with nurses about what their job is like. I think being a nurse would be a really rewarding job.” 

Eoghan Wade (Primary 7) added: “I enjoyed the opportunity to read the book out loud to other primary school children today in Queen’s. I’ve seen midwives care for my mammy and my younger sister, Ciara. They were so kind and helped my mammy a lot. Being a midwife would be a great career and should be considered by everyone.” 


Media inquiries to