From professional footballer to nurse

Choosing to be a nurse is a great decision. There are so many incredible career opportunities all over the world. It’s a highly respected profession with job security and a good salary and pension. Nurses are always needed and the work is interesting – every day is different. There are plenty chances for career progression. So, how do you get started?

From footballer to nurse, student Martin Ure talks to us about starting his journey to retrain as a mental health nurse so that he can help make a difference to the quality of life of many people.

Martin Ure

I am doing the Access to Nursing course which will give me the entry requirements needed to start a nursing degree at university. I don’t have enough qualifications to go straight into university so an “Access” course is the perfect way to start my career.

I’ve been working as a support worker in a secure mental health unit so it is mental health nursing I really want do. I find my work with these patients really interesting especially learning about the different illnesses and how each is diagnosed and treated. I am fascinated about how the brain works.

While I was there as a support worker, I noticed there was a lack of male nurses. Some patients are more comfortable talking to another man or would prefer to have their personal care supported by a male nurse. I know there is a demand for male nurses and together with my increasing interest in mental health my mind was made up to take a big step and retrain as a nurse.

It really is a great course and we cover a wide range of subjects. We get good support from the lecturers. It has been a shock to the system to return to learning after eleven years however it’s quite a mature class and we all help each other out. I think the difference is that we have all chosen what we want to do and are more focused, with our mind set on getting in to university. As a mature student I find it much easier to study compared to when I was at school. My dedication has taken me and my family completely by surprise.

I have got a whole new future ahead of me – this is the career I am going to be doing for the rest of my life. It’s a far cry from where I was when I left school. At the age of sixteen I was offered a professional contract with Rangers and played with them for two and half years followed by a stint with Queens Park. I had various jobs after this and now only play football to keep fit.

I think there are more men becoming interested in nursing than ever before which is really encouraging as it’s a career that can suit both male and females. It’s a really challenging job where every day is different. You can make a difference to a patient’s quality of living just by making small changes or taking time to listen or observe.

I am easy going and approachable and I have quite a resilient personality – which you need in mental health nursing! It is very important to have good communication skills so this means showing you are listening and being able to speak to people. You have got to build up the patients trust and make assessments which will affect their care. Sometimes you have to be persistent and encouraging with patients to help them engage with their treatment.

I am looking forward to being part of a team and to be doing a job that I enjoy and get satisfaction from helping people when they are at their most vulnerable.


The Access to Nursing course runs three days a week from 9am – 4pm in Kilmarnock and Kilwinning. Course applications are open for August 2016. Early application is advised as this course is very popular.

To find out more email or phone 01294 559000 ext 3249.

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