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‘Did I make a mistake choosing a degree route into nursing?’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I was going to start my training in September this year but when I heard that it was my last chance to train with a bursary I bit the bullet, left my job and started training in September 2016.

“Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m lucky to have the bursary but with two children at home and my partner not on a great wage, it’s still not easy to make ends meet.

“Now I’ve seen that it’s going to be possible to become a nurse basically by training on the job as a nursing associate ort apprentice. I get that it’s probably ‘better’ to have a degree in terms of career development etc, but this just seems a more financially viable route into nursing. Am I missing something?

“I’m enjoying my course but I’m seriously considering leaving and re-training as a nursing associate instead. Can anyone advice about the pros and cons of doing this?”

- Anonymous


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Readers' comments (6)

  • it may appear that way would appear that our profession wants to get back to training on the job-task orientated.

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  • Pls continue with the degree route, do not let any other "alternative" distract you from the opportunity you have now.

    Many people come on the course every year with different family commitments and financial difficults and they all somehow found a way to adapt and make it through.

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  • I had the same thoughts initially. I left my job as a HCA with the NHS to start my Degree in MH nursing. It is very tough not only academically but also financially. I do receive the bursary so I do feel lucky in a sense, although I need to work on the Bank as well. The nursing associate role would have been great for me if I had been younger, but I am a mature student. I think there is still some confusion and debate around this new role. From my understanding, it is 2 years to become a band 4, but to progress to a Qualified Nurse you still have to go to University for a further 3 years! So for me 5 years is far too long. I'm currently in my second year, it is passing so quickly. I am happy I chose this route. I also feel very privileged to have been accepted on the degree! There was 2000 applicants when I applied for only 30 places. Good luck and keep up the struggle!

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  • Nursing is the nation's largest health care profession, with more than 3.1 million registered nurses nationwide. Of all licensed RNs, 2.6 million or 84.8% are employed in nursing so you will not have to bother your head with questions like - What should I do with my degree?
    Though often working collaboratively, nursing does not "assist" medicine or other fields. Nursing operates independent of, not auxiliary to, medicine and other disciplines. Nurses' roles range from direct patient care and case management to establishing nursing practice standards, developing quality assurance procedures, and directing complex nursing care systems.
    My friend said once that it is relatively easy to get a degree in nursing, and even if you worry about the difficult student life, dissertation or a research project there's even a wider field for the prompts, you are free to take info for your projects from sites like this one, evidence‐based guidelines, letters. I also found how to write my project here
    Hopefully for some of you that will be helpful.

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  • Stick it out, whatever route you choose will be difficult but to have the full degree will give you so many options and opportunity to progress even further once completed. The Aporenticeship route will not necesssrily "pay" you more whilst training. It will be worth it in the end.

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  • I would say carry on with your degree,especially if you want promotion, as its a starting point when you qualify. You are lucky to still have the bursary. I trained under the old hospital based system in the 1970s when student nurses were salaried and part of the workforce. Many of us upgraded our qualification to degree level to be on a level playing field with university trained students, although I thought myself to be competent and reasonably well educated already.
    Nursing at the coal face is 75% hard graft, you can dress it up with diplomas, degrees or doctorates and it will still remain that way. However, it would probably take several years post associate nurse qualification to upgrade to degree level, if you do it part time. Working full time, and studying can be difficult especially if you have family commitments. Good luck with your degree!

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