Qualifying As A Nurse In The UK

May 7, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Qualifying As A Nurse In The UK

All ready for a day in the hospital! Nursing education has changed a lot over the years with the most recent change being implemented as recently as 2013. A new ruling passed by the Department of Health states that with effect from 2013, all nurses in England must be educated to degree level. This is to ensure that all nurses can meet today’s increasingly complex needs of patients more safely and effectively.

Most nursing schools in the UK have adapted their courses to comply with this new ruling and all students who wish to study nursing now need to enter at degree level (BSc, three years).

If you have already obtained a health or science related degree you will be eligible to enter a nursing programme at postgraduate diploma level, which is typically two years.  

In the Nursing BSc degree you will choose one of four nursing pathways – adult nursing, children’s nursing, learning disability nursing or mental health nursing

In the postgraduate diploma you will be able to choose one of two fields – adult nursing or mental health nursing.

Course content & Clinical Skills

Although there will be some variation in modules between different schools, most programmes will comprise of 50% academic learning and 50% clinical learning. Together, both components cover a wide range of subjects central to the theory and practice of nursing. These include applied biological sciences such as physiology and microbiology, applied social sciences such as psychology and sociology, health promotion and teaching, professional issues, communication and research skills. Degree students are required to work on a research dissertation in their third year.

All nursing schools in the UK have well-equipped clinical laboratories where you will participate in simulated learning events with medical students and paramedic students in various areas ranging from mental health nursing to trauma and emergency care.

All nursing schools also offer ample practice placements at leading, specialist clinical sites. These practice placements enable you to gain supervised hands-on experience of working with real patients and provide valuable multidisciplinary working opportunities with professionals from other health care specialties.

Continuing professional development

Healthcare is continually evolving and advancing as more research evidence emerges and new technologies are created. The role of nurses is also undergoing tremendous change. Nurses today are learning new skills and taking on more responsibility than ever before. The number of nurse-led specialist services is increasing rapidly and nurses are playing a more active role in managing people’s health and wellbeing, both in hospital and the community.

After graduation from nursing school, you will have plenty of opportunities to advance your career by developing specialist skills. You can choose to specialise in clinical skills such as venepuncture, suturing or cannulation or you can choose the academic route, educating and training nursing students. Professional nurses today can also assume management and leadership roles where they make a real contribution to changing the way healthcare services are organised and delivered.

Once you’re qualified, it is essential to keep up to date with current healthcare knowledge and practice to meet the changing needs of patients. Continuing professional development is a mandatory requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which you will need to be a member of before you can start practicing.