If you want to become a nurse in the UK, you need to get the right qualifications. It’s not the kind of job that you can just walk into. You’ll have to know how to care for people and what a nurse is expected to do. If you’re wondering which qualifications you’ll need and how you can go about getting them, this guide will help you out by offering up all the information you need to have.
Nursing is a very rewarding career, so don’t be put off by the need to get qualifications before you get started. You don’t need to have an existing medical background. You can find a course that suits your needs and current level of experience and knowledge, and before long you’ll be where you want to be. Without further ado, read on and start learning about what qualifications you need to be a nurse in the UK.
The Qualifications You’ll Need
Everyone who wants to work as a nurse needs to get a degree in nursing. This is something that can be done via higher education providers of various kinds all over the country. But without taking this step, you will not be able to enter the world of nursing. When you do a degree, half of the time will be taken up by a supervised nursing placement in a real hospital or medical facility. This helps you to get the hands-on experience you need, as well as time to practice the technical skills you’ve learnt thus far.
As we as graduating with a degree in nursing, you will have to become registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Every nurse has to do this before they get a job. As long as you have a degree and your skills, be they technical or decision-making, are up to scratch, you will be approved for registration. When that’s taken care of, you’ll be ready to start applying for nursing jobs.
Choosing a Degree
How do you go about choosing the right nursing degree for you, though? There are so many of them, and you need to look at what’s on offer before you go ahead and enroll. Each course offers something a little different. It’s worth looking at what past students are saying and how the course is structured before choosing. Compare different educational institutions and talk to the teachers on these courses to get a better feel for what’s on offer from each of them.
The NHS has a careers website that can also be very useful for people thinking of becoming nurses. They provide a list of institutions across the country that are offering relevant courses in nursing. When the time comes to apply, you can make your application through UCAS. From there, the process is relatively straightforward. If you are a suitable candidate, you will be accepted onto the course, and you’ll be able to start learning in the coming academic year.
There are some entry requirements for most courses that teach nursing. Of course, these requirements always differ from institution to institution. So, it’ll be up to you to read up on these entry requirements before you submit your application. For most courses, you will need to have five GCSEs and two A levels. These things don’t necessarily need to be related to nursing or biology, though, so don’t let that hold you back if you don’t have that kind of background.
At the very least, you will need to be able to show that you have basic literacy and numeracy skills. These are going to be important when you are doing the daily tasks that nurses have to do. You’ll also be asked to disclose any criminal convictions in your past. If you have a criminal record, you might not be allowed to study. There are strict rules in place concerning who is allowed to work as a nurse because of the sensitive nature of the job.
From August 2017, student nurses won’t be able to gain access to NHS bursaries. Instead, you can use standard student support. This is the same loan and support system that is available to all students on all kinds of courses. There are grants available to help people with the cost of living. The fact that you will be mostly reliant on the student loan system means that you will have to be willing to take on debt if you can’t fund your own studies.
The new system is still being understood by everyone, so it’s really important to do as much research as possible. That way, you will know exactly what you need to do to stay financially stable while you study nursing. You don’t want to be forced out of education because you are not able to support yourself. That’s something that does happen to people, so get the financial matters straight before you worry about things.
Choosing a Specialism
When you study for a degree in nursing, you have to choose a specialism. This is the one specific part of nursing that you want to work in. First of all, it’s important to say that you don’t have to stick to this choice. Many people end up working in a different area of nursing than the specialism they chose during their studies. However, if you do know what kind of nursing you want to do, it’s good to have the chance to specialise early on.
There are four specialisms that you can choose from. There is adult nursing, children’s nursing, learning disability nursing and mental health nursing. If you don’t know which one of these you want to choose, do some research and learn about each of these different nursing disciplines. That way, you will be able to make an informed decision.
Keep all of the points above in mind when you’re starting out on the path toward a nursing career. It’ll be hard work, but it’ll be worth it when you graduate and can start working as a nurse in your chosen specialism.