Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do? Where have you been spending lock down?
Hi, I’m Dr Alex Rhys and I’m the Assistant Director (Education) at the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In essence I oversee the regulation of nursing, midwifery and nursing associate education programmes across the UK (I promise it’s not as dry as it sounds) – although my background is as a cancer researcher.

Alongside that in a voluntary capacity I run the LGBTQ+ charity It Gets Better UK which aims to inspire, empower and uplift LGBTQ+ youth in order to combat the scarily high levels of self-harm and suicide in our community.

I’ve been spending lock down at home in Chesham with my husband Hefin, and our dog Yoshi.

How’s lock down been for you?
Lock down has been very busy!

Over the last few months as the pandemic took its grip we’ve had to look at how we could support nursing and midwifery students to complete their studies, whilst also helping alleviate pressure on the NHS. We therefore made changes to degree programmes which has resulted in over 35,000 students moving into clinical placements over the last few months to help out as part of their degrees – it’s been no mean feat, and the work the students have done has inevitably saved lives, they’re amazing.

From the It Gets Better UK perspective we know that a lot of LGBTQ+ youth will be in lock down with people they perhaps aren’t out to yet, or who don’t accept them for who they are. We’ve therefore been working hard to try and provide as many positive and reassuring messages as we can to those who might be struggling or feeling isolated.

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself (or the world) over the last few months?
On a personal level I’ve definitely come to accept myself as an ambivert. As much as I love me-time and space away from other people I miss talking to people. Whilst video conferences are great, I miss that spontaneous chat you have with friends or colleagues.

That being said, I’ve genuinely been impressed at how people have come together. I work in an amazing profession who have been at the heart of the response to the pandemic. Seeing some of the personal sacrifices individual nurses and midwives have made to help out has been staggering, and I continue to be left in awe.

What have you missed most about the House? What do you look forward to getting back to?
The House is my go-to oasis in London – from ringing the bell and walking through the door you get hit by that welcome energy I’ve yet to experience anywhere else.

I’ve really missed being able to sit out in the garden catching-up with friends, and really looking forward to being able to do that again as soon as possible.

If you could have a drink with one person (real or imaginary) at our bar, who would it be?
This one was really tough. I think with everything going on at the moment I’d have to pick Joseph Lister who was the pioneer of antiseptic surgery – as well as coming from a Quaker family.

Getting his insight on everything that’s going on would be fascinating.

Say hello to me to talk… e.g. marketing, the offside rule, the history of the brioche bun
I like to think I’m a friendly and approachable person, so if you see me in the house then please do come and say hello. I love learning about new people and hearing their experiences. I look forward to meeting you when we’re back in the house…

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