How do I switch to a career in nursing?
By Dan Allard
We previously wrote about how to start a nursing career and outlined the skills and requirements needed to work as a nurse. Now we want to turn our attention to those who are considering switching careers.
Why is nursing a common career choice for people switching careers?
Nursing is a popular choice amongst people of all ages largely due to the rewarding nature of the job, high employment rates, increasing pay scales and the ability to work flexible shift patterns.
Many nurses decide to retrain later in life as a result of their experiences. As they’ve seen nurses care for loved ones, they are often inspired to become nurses themselves to give something back.
What qualifications do I need to become a nurse?
You can enrol on a nursing degree course or follow the nursing apprenticeship route. If you have no prior experience, you can study for a level 5 nursing associate apprenticeship but if you have worked as a healthcare support worker or an assistant practitioner, you could talk to your employer about studying for a level 6 nursing degree apprenticeship. This will allow you to complete a nursing qualification whilst continuing your work.
How do I improve my application to study nursing?
If you feel that your degree or apprenticeship application needs a boost, try to make the most of any relevant volunteering opportunities. Perhaps you’ve worked in a care home or a community setting where you provided support for others. If so, make sure you include details of any key responsibilities within your application.
It’s beneficial to look at the skills required for the role. Try to draw on experiences that meet these skills – highlight moments when you’ve shown attributes such as good communication, empathy and an ability to be a team player.
Are there any fast-track nursing courses to help me switch?
If you already have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (such as psychology, biology or sociology), you may be eligible to apply for a postgraduate course. This will allow you to complete your training in two years.
It should be noted that only those who have completed an approved course will be eligible for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
If you’re keen to find out more about what it’s like to work as a nurse, please visit our careers hub .