Information from Royal College of NursingAs a nurse it is possible to work in, among others, hospitals, GP surgeries, clinics, nursing and residential homes, occupational health services, voluntary organisations that run hospices or residential care and the pharmaceutical industry. Nurses also work in the prison service, university education, on leisure cruise ships or for the armed forces.
As a nurse it is possible to work in, among others, hospitals, GP surgeries, clinics, nursing and residential homes, occupational health services, voluntary organisations that run hospices or residential care and the pharmaceutical industry. Nurses also work in the prison service, university education, on leisure cruise ships or for the armed forces.
Nurses focus on the needs of the individual, rather than specific illnesses or conditions. They help individuals and their families to live more comfortable lives by providing care, advice and counselling.
Midwives are often the key health professional supporting, guiding and caring for the mother, baby and family through the months of pregnancy, during the birth itself and afterwards in the postnatal period.
It is possible to take either a diploma or degree course to qualify as a nurse. Education is provided by universities, with placements in local hospital and community settings. The course is 50% theory and 50% practical. The first year is a Common Foundation Programme, which will introduce you to the basic principles of nursing. You will then specialise in either adult, children's, mental health or learning disability nursing. Full time diploma courses last three years. Degree courses last three or four years.
Midwifery education is also at diploma or degree level. You will learn the theory and practical skills required to care for pregnant women, delivering babies, educating and supporting parents. The social , political and cultural issues affecting maternity care are also covered.
The number of opportunities for those qualifying in the adult branch of nursing is huge. It is possible to work in hospitals or the community - in peoples homes, attached to a health centre or in nursing homes. You will care for, support and educate people of all ages. Once qualified, many nurses take extra courses to specialise in areas such as cancer care, women's health, accident and emergency, critical care, practice nursing, health visiting or school nursing.
Those qualified in the children's branch of nursing work with 0 to 18 year olds in a variety of settings, from specialist baby care units to adolescent services. Children react to illness in a very different way to adults, which is why they need to be cared for and supported by specially trained nurses who understand their particular needs. Children's nurses also support, advise and educate parents and other close relatives. Once qualified, it is possible to specialise in hospital and community settings in areas such as burns and plastics, intensive care, child protection and cancer care.
About two to three percent of the population has a learning disability. Nurses who qualify in this branch of nursing help those with learning disabilities to live independent and fulfilling lives. This may involve working with people in supported accommodation - typically three to four people with learning disabilities live together in flats or houses, with 24 hour support. Some nurses work with individuals who require more intensive support - for instance, in hospitals or in specialist secure units for offenders with learning disabilities. Others specialise in areas such as epilepsy management or working with people with sensory impairment.
Mental health nurses work with GPs, psychiatrists, social workers and others to co-ordinate the care of people suffering from mental illness. The vast majority of people with mental health problems live in the community. Nurses plan and deliver care for people living in their own home, in small residential units or specialist hospital services. Some are based in health centres. It is possible to develop expertise in areas such as rehabilitation, child and adolescent mental health, substance misuse and working with offenders.
Many midwives carry their own caseload of women and work in the community. others are based in hospital. There are opportunities to specialise in public health, women's health and to run specialist services, such as teenage pregnancy clinics.
Those who undertake an NHS funded degree course receive a means tested bursary. Your tuition fees are paid, but the grant allowance you receive will depend on your income or that of your partner/parents.
Those who undertake an NHS funded diploma course receive a non means tested bursary, which currently stands at £5,432 (£6,382 in London). Depending on your circumstances you may be elligible for extra allowances - for example, if you have children.
|Further information is available from the following organisations:|
The NHS Student Grants Unit
Tel: 01253 655 655 (Diploma Enquiries)
Tel: 0131 4768212
Tel : 029 2026 1495
in Northern Ireland,
Tel: 028 9025 7777
If you enjoy working with people and would like to make a difference to their lives nursing has a lot to offer you. You need to be non-judgmental and a good communicator, with the ability to listen, empathise and provide support. Nursing attracts all kinds of personalities from all sorts of backgrounds. Whether you're an extravert or introvert you'll find an area of nursing that helps you to fulfil your potential.
By law you must be aged 17 and a half (17 in Scotland) at the start of the course.
You have to complete a health questionnaire when you apply for nurse or midwifery training and will be asked to identify any special needs related to a disability. Your acceptance on a course will be subject to satisfactory health clearance. If you have a disability, you may find it useful to contact SKILL (The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities), on telephone number 0800 328 5050, or visit their website at www.skill.org.uk
If you have any past convictions, you will need to declare this on the application form. The university will also ask you to sign a form allowing them to check whether you have a police record. You will not automatically be barred from entering the nursing or midwifery profession if you have a criminal conviction or caution. The university will take into account the circumstances surrounding the case and should treat any information in the strictest of confidence.
The minimum entry requirements are given below, but note that many universities will require you to hold more than the minimum, including A' levels:
Further details are available from NHS Careers (England) or the organisations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales listed (see Application Process below).
If you do not hold any of the above qualifications you can apply for a new initiative called the nursing cadet scheme. Run by various NHS trusts in England, this scheme enables you to undertake an initial training programme, successful completion of which gives you an NVQ level three or Access to nursing qualification. You are then seconded to a nearby university to take a nursing diploma course, leading to registration as a nurse. Further details are available from NHS Careers (see below).
|There is a central application process for both degree and diploma programmes.|
For degree programmes you will need to apply to:
The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
Tel: 01242 227788 - for application package only
For diploma programmes you will need to apply to:
The Nursing and Midwifery Admissions Service (NMAS)
Tel: 01242 223707 - application package only
|Further information on all of the above is available from the following organisations|
NHS Education for Scotland
Health Professions Wales