How to become a nurse

September 23, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Once you’ve decided that nursing is the career path for you, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to get there. With a good dose of motivation and the right qualifications, the nursing industry is an extremely rewarding field of medicine – and very accessible for the right student. Here’s what you need to get started.

Top universities for nursing training

Over 100 universities offer a nursing course of some description. Some of them may offer a specific branch of nursing from the first day (such as child nursing or mental health nursing) while others start with a broad remit and allow you to specialise in your second or third year. Whichever you prefer, make sure you take all the important factors into consideration, such as location, facilities, placement opportunities and graduate employment.

We’ve broken down the top ten universities for nursing below – click the name of each to for a short description, or head to their website to find out more.

 University    Course name   Entry requirements   Duration (years)    Visit website
Keele.. Adult Nursing  BBC  3
UEA Nursing (adult)  BBB  3
Coventry Adult Nursing  BCC  3 
Greenwich Nursing  BBC  3 
Edinburgh Nursing Studies AAB  4
 Portsmouth Nursing (adult) BCC  3
Stirling Nursing (adult) CCC  4
Kingston Children’s Nursing 112 UCAS pts  3
Bradford  Nursing (Child) BBB  3
Liverpool  Nursing BBB  3


Keele University is a great choice for aspiring nurses, with a 98% satisfaction rate in the National Student Survey. Keele city itself is fairly small but has all the things the average student needs – a good sized shopping centre and lots of nightlife, as well as Stoke City FC and Alton Towers nearby. What more can you ask for?

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UEA has a brilliant track record for graduate employment – in 2014, 100% of their students received a 2.1 or higher and 100% were in graduate employment within six months of graduating. Established in the 1960s, UEA sits just outside of the city of Norwich, a gorgeous city on the East coast of England with around 135,000 inhabitants – and only 100 miles North of London.

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Coventry University’s nursing course ranks consistently highly in league tables, with a student satisfaction score of over 90% and an average starting salary for graduates coming in at £21,100. At Coventry, you can begin clinical placements from year one and can choose to spend up to half your time learning ‘on the job’.

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As well as being based in a recognised World Heritage site, the nursing course at Greenwich University also boasts a very low drop out rate – only 8% of first-year students do not return for their second year of study. Typically all graduating students will be in employment within six months and their starting salary is a very respectable £23,100 on average.

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Studying at Edinburgh University means studying in one of the most picturesque cities in the United Kingdom, with a breathtaking castle, world-famous annual festival and some of the most exciting scenery on earth. While the competition for places is high (less than 10% of students who apply are offered a place) you can expect world-class tuition, excellent facilities and at least 30% of your time spent on placement every year that you study.

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Portsmouth has a brilliant student satisfaction score, with 96% of students in their final year being happy with the teaching and support they have received. Nursing students complete placements during every year of study, and during their free time have the option of city or seaside at this sunny South coast location.

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Stirling University is a great combination of low drop out rates, achievable grades and high graduate salaries. In addition, students get to learn their profession surrounded by blissful Scottish countryside – and a stone’s throw away from both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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Kingston’s child nursing course is one of the best in the country, with a 100% graduate employment rate within six months and a starting salary of £24,000. The department prides itself on the diversity of its staff, with specialists from sexual health, dementia care, ICU and A&E. You can also opt to undertake a national or international placement in your second year of study.

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Nursing courses at the University of Bradford get more practical as the course evolves, with almost half of your final year spent on placement.
Bradford itself is a hub of culture in the North of England, with world-class facilities as well as stunning Victorian architecture.

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Studying at the gorgeous redbrick university of Liverpool is a great choice for aspiring nurses. Incoming students tend to have over 300 UCAS points, so you can expect to be surrounded by like-minded and motivated people – who go on to be high-achieving, well-paid graduates.

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Which? University Guide
Guardian League Table 2017: Nursing and Midwifery

Work experience

Competition at the top universities is fierce – in some cases, only 10% of applicants are offered a place on their nursing course. Make sure you’re one of them with a top quality application – our nursing work experience placements are a great way of showing admissions panels how committed you are to your chosen role – and that you know all it entails.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.