Student applications for nursing degrees have leapt 73.7 per cent, the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service has announced.
As of 22 January 2010, the UCAS said it had received 94, 644 nursing course applications, compared to 54,475 in 2009. Overall it said applications for degrees of any type had risen 22.9 per cent to 570,556 from 106,389 in 2009.
UCAS notes that the increase in nurse degree applications may be related to the news that the nursing diploma is being phased out between September 2011 and early 2013, as nursing heads towards becoming a graduate-only entry profession.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “It is very encouraging that so many people of all ages are choosing a career in nursing, and that they are pursuing the graduate route into the profession.
“Due to increasing demands on the health service, nursing care in the future will only become more valuable, and at the same time more complex. We need to ensure that there is a good supply of well trained, caring people going into nursing.
He added: “The recent change to make the profession all graduate is clearly making an impact, and we are encouraged to see that aspiring nurses are embracing the additional skills and experience which degree courses can offer.
“We also need to ensure that an adequate number of places are available for people with the skills and the commitment to study nursing. We need to ensure that students have the right financial support and the right pastoral care to ensure that they continue their studies and become excellent nurses.”