how do I become a nurse in the uk? nursing degree, uk nursing role

How do I become a nurse in the UK?

By Paul Hayward

Nurses are in demand now more than ever before; they perform vital jobs in patient care, ensuring people are comfortable and well looked after. Without them, the NHS wouldn’t be able to function.

Why become a nurse?

Nursing isn’t just a job, it’s a vocation. There is lots of variety in what you do day-to-day and it can genuinely transform patients’ lives.

There’s no doubt that nursing is tough and there will be times when it feels overwhelming and challenging. But ultimately, it’s a highly rewarding career in which you can really thrive.

Get into nursing

Most people start their journey by studying a degree in nursing. It won’t be all about lessons and exams, there’s a lot of practical, hands-on experience with patients in hospitals and community settings. You will also need to decide on which field of nursing you want to study in.

Other routes are to complete a nursing degree apprenticeship, which offers flexibility and doesn’t require full-time study at university, and becoming a nursing associate, which is a trainee role.

Start working in the UK as a nurse

Once you have a degree, you’ll likely need a minimum of six months of experience (within the last two years) before you’ll be considered for a UK nursing role.

If you trained inside the UK and EEA, you can apply to be on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register, as log as you meet its standards. The NMC will then compare the training in your home country with what is required in the UK. It’s worth noting that registration with the NMC doesn’t provide you the right to work in the UK. If you trained outside the EEA, you’ll need to complete a two-part application process; a computer based multiple choice (CBT) exam and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

Find out about how much you can expect to earn as a nurse in the UK and the working hours. 

For more information on NHS careers, read our collection of blogs.