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Nursing degrees given funding boost

By Daniel Allard

​It has been announced that the Government will be allocating nursing students with financial support of at least £5,000 a year to help with living costs. The guaranteed financial package (which will not need to be repaid) is part of a new initiative designed to encourage more people to enter the nursing profession from September 2020.

The funding is part of the manifesto pledge which by 2025, will boost nursing numbers by 50,000, and it is estimated that up to 35,000 people will benefit from the funding every year. In addition to the guaranteed £5,000, which is available to all nursing and midwifery students studying a nursing degree in the UK, a further £3,000 will be available for those in regions or specialisms struggling to recruit or to help students cover childcare costs.

Since 2016, the number of applications for nursing degrees had fallen by 29% following the removal of the nursing bursary. Therefore, it’s a positive step by the government to provide additional support and we believe this will be welcomed by students as they approach the UCAS application deadline on 15 January 2020.

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:

“Nursing and midwifery are among the most rewarding roles it’s possible to deliver, which is why it’s great news to see a strong commitment to our professions from Government through additional financial support, which will help encourage the best and brightest to kick-start a career helping patients, learn new skills and experience all of life’s highs and lows in our NHS as a midwife or nurse.”

Starting your nursing career

Nursing is a varied and hugely rewarding career choice. Despite the falling numbers reported by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), nursing is still a hugely popular career option. According to UCAS, 94% of nursing graduates are employed within six months of graduation, making it one of the most employable degree subjects.

To work as a nurse in the UK, you must have a nursing degree and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) who are the professional regulators. There are four key specialisms within the nursing sector;

  • Adult nursing

  • Children’s nursing

  • Learning disability nursing

  • Mental health nursing

Once you’ve chosen your preferred area of interest, you can start to look for your preferred nursing degree in the UK.

The nursing league table 2020 shows that universities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Surrey are rated extremely high for their nursing degree courses.

What subjects do you need to become a nurse?

UCAS entry requirements for a nursing degree will differ depending upon your preferred university. Broadly speaking, you will likely need around five GSCEs and a minimum of two (preferably three) A-Levels, Highers or equivalent level 3 qualifications.

Your preferred nursing degree course will specify any particular subjects, but you can expect to require an A-level or Level 3 qualification in a science subject (preferably biology) or a social science subject, such as psychology.

If you’re already working as a healthcare assistant or a nursing associate and you wish to train to become a registered nurse, you may find that you are eligible for a nursing apprenticeship.

How long does it take to become a nurse?

Courses normally take three years, or four if you choose to study a dual-field nursing degree course. These are options that cover two of the four key specialisms and it may be of interest to those who wish to keep their nursing career options open.

To find out more about starting your nursing career, please visit our careers hub.