Nursing student helps improve accessibility at uni

Nursing student helps improve accessibility at uni

Rusty Drysdale was nominated for the Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion in this year’s Student Nursing Times Awards. We caught up with him to find out why he was recognised.

Rusty celebrates student nursing times award nomination
Rusty does a celebratory jump while in London for the Student Nursing Times Awards ceremony.

While working as a mental health support worker, colleagues recognised Rusty’s potential and told him to consider training to become a nurse. Initially, he put it out of his mind; he didn’t think a nursing career was possible.

“As a deaf person I had become used to the idea of not being able to achieve because of barriers that I faced on a regular basis, but after being interviewed at LJMU, I realised the possibility could become a reality.”

Rather than taking part in a programme specifically designed for deaf people, Rusty chose to study at university: “I wanted to show myself and those that know me, that I was able to achieve the qualification at university and I am grateful for LJMU for offering me the opportunity. I have found the whole experience really enjoyable.”

As the first hearing-impaired student on the Mental Health Nursing programme, Rusty struggled in the beginning due to issues around accessibility. But these challenges only drove him on. With Rusty’s input, improvements to access for deaf students studying on the programme have been possible and it was this contribution that compelled fellow students and lecturers to nominate him for the award.

“It means a great deal to me to be recognised in this way, not only to know what lecturers and other students think of me but also in terms of giving me a platform to promote diversity and inclusion and equal access in my future career. It also means a great deal that I know other students who apply to LJMU will hopefully not face the same barriers I did at the beginning and tutors will be accommodating and make the lectures more accessible for future students.”

Rusty’s initiative will no doubt take him far in his career. He has already secured his dream job working with deaf people in a mental health setting – his career is all lined up for him once he completes his programme. He can’t wait to start his next journey.

“For me, nursing is about making a difference to other people’s lives, being there to help in times of crisis. I find that the career path offers you endless opportunities for progression, development and job satisfaction.”

Last year, LJMU picked up the Nurse Education Provider of the Year (pre-registration) award at the Student Nursing Times Awards.

If you’re interested in training to become a nurse, find out more about our courses.


'Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year' awarded to LJMU's John Wells


Students inspire schoolchildren to think about university


Get in touch

Have feedback or have an idea for a feature? Email us at