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Surge in nursing students opting for degrees


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.”


Readers' comments (8)

  • it is also due to the concomitant fact that during recessions some individuals see nursing as an easy option, and that it will guarantee employment. What is needed is better pay and conditions to KEEP them once the inevitable 'upturn' occurs, when higher paid jobs (for degree holders especially) will seem much more attractive

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  • True, true! This is my 2nd degree and if it wasn't for the credit crunch I would still own my own restaurant... I absolutely love doing my nursing degree and am working very hard and achieving well, but if nursing proves to be a headache of bad working conditions and fustration, then I would have no problem changing career again (not that I plan to).

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  • I'm so glad UCAS did acknowledge that this may be due to the fact that the Diploma and Adv. Diploma are being phased out. I really hope that this doesn't backfire though, I'm studying the Diploma and yes maybe one day I'll do my degree but I certainly wouldn't have been able to train if it had been a degree only profession at entry level when I enrolled!!

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  • ...........and they all graduate and have difficulties in finding a job, just like us!

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  • Im currently studying the pre-registration diploma. I have my A-levels and am quite capable of doing the degree, but the financial uncertanty of a means tested bursary for the degree course meant that i decided on the diploma first.

    The minimal funding we recieve (£6701 a year is equal to roughly £1.60 p/hr for the placement hours we work), and less opportunity to work part time already stops many valuable people becoming nurses... Will making it a degree only profession limit even more people...?

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  • 'What is needed is better pay and conditions to KEEP them'`
    Actually nursing is pretty well paid with a jump to over £20k on qualification. The time people ought to be cheesed off is when they have been in post for many years and hit something of a block. Sure it is technically possible to earn megabucks - but fewer people rise in the public sector. Where the pinch starts to hurt is probably in bands 6 & 7 where nurses with 40 years experience are stuck on less than £40k [and let us not forget those still stuck on band 5!].

    'The minimal funding we recieve (£6701 a year is equal to roughly £1.60 p/hr for the placement hours we work)'
    I think you need to check your sums. Placement of 20 weeks = 750 hours. £6701 / 750 = £8.93.... and you are capable of doing a degree? Oh, and 'i before e except after c'...

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  • As an ex pat living in Canada, and a first year nursing student, I am paying $6000 per year in tuition fees (approx 2500 pounds) for my 4-year degree. I can apply for a bursay, which is also means tested, but it would only provide about $1000 per year. I would love the UK system.

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  • It may work out as £8.93 per hour if you only take into account the weeks of the year you are on placement but the bursary also has to keep you for the weeks you are classes and studying for exams.

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