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How to become a nurse in the UK?

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In the UK today, nurses are the most sought-after career people with over 90% of nursing graduates getting a befitting job within months of graduating.

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Answer Adeosun
Feb 10, 23 · 8 min read
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The advent of COVID-19 has made this even more so such that nurses from all over the world are coming to the UK for job opportunities. The healthcare system needs more nurses to function properly and many jobs are coming up every day too.

So, if you want to avail yourself of an opportunity to be part of these prestigious people and earn a good living for yourself and your family, you should read the rest of this article. we are going to be discussing the various routes to which you can become a certified nurse in the UK, types of nursing careers, salary ranges, and the qualifications required to gain entry into university or nursing school.

Guide to become a nurse 

The first thing to know is that there are different routes to becoming a nurse in the UK. they are taking a university course as a nursing student, apprenticeship, and nursing associate. How each of these works will be discussed in detail below.

Requirements for becoming a nursing student

It takes about 3 to 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing – BSN) in the UK. The requirements for becoming a nursing student vary by university and institution. However, here are the basic requirements that will most likely be required by any institution.

  1. At least 5 credits in GCSE and A-level or equivalent. Two of those credits must be in Mathematics and English. Credits in science-related courses are added advantage
  2. Complete a health questionnaire and indicate any disability you may have
  3. Declare any past criminal record and authorize the institution to do a background check.

For international students, you will need:

  1. Overall score of at least 7.0 in IELTS and not lower than 6.0 in each component
  2. Equivalents of A-level which include Access courses, e.g., Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma qualifications, Access to Nursing, OCR Cambridge Technicals, Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers, or International Baccalaureate (IB).

It is important that you verify that the institution you choose is fully accredited by the NHS (National Health Services) to award the BSN degree before you apply.

Requirements for nursing apprenticeship

Practising health workers who are deemed eligible by their employers may undergo a nursing apprenticeship with a Nursing Midwifery Council (NWC) accredited educational institution on a part-time basis. With this, you can study and work to obtain a level 6 nursing degree like a university-trained nursing student. All you need is to have the entry-level requirements of the apprenticeship standard for a nursing degree that applies to you.

Requirements for nursing associate

Nursing associates are more or less assistants to registered nurses because they perform specialized tasks that help free up the time of registered nurses for more important tasks. A nursing associate is a level 5 official. The requirement is grade 9 to 4 GCSE certification in mathematics and English, or a Functional Skills level 2 or 3 in mathematics and English. 

Most often, the institution will require that you have what it takes to complete the nursing associate course. It takes only 2 years of study and work practice to obtain a nursing associate degree.

Job prospects and career progression of nurses in the UK

As said earlier, the job prospects for nurses a very high in the UK because everyone needs a nurse at one point or another. There are patients needing a nurse’s attention in virtually every industry so much that even private organisations would most likely have an in-house nurse. 

The truth of it is that you are more likely to get a job and start your role as a nurse professionally within months compared to colleagues that graduated at the same time as you but studied other courses.

Regarding career progression, when you graduate from a nursing associate program, you can go on to become a registered nurse (RNs) by applying to take the National Council Licensure Examination which qualifies you to register with the NHS (National Health Service).

After becoming a registered nurse (RNs), you can get a job as a sister nurse and move up the ladder by experience into positions like ward manager, matron, director of nursing, etc. you can also pursue a postgraduate degree in nursing that makes you into a specialist like a nurse consultant or specialist or an advanced nurse practitioner. You can also choose to specialize to become a neonatal nurse, surgical nurse, intensive care unit nurse, cancer specialist nurse, adult care nurse, etc.

Another career progression option is to train to become a midwife, health visitor, practice or district nurse, etc. Others still become teachers and professors in educational institutions and universities to teach and assess upcoming nurses.

The salary range for nurses in the UK

According to the National Careers Service of the UK, entry-level nurses can earn up to £27,000 or more annually while an experienced nurse can earn up to £40,000 or more annually, on average. This of course depends on your employer, your capability, experience, and level of education.

Conclusion

You can start your nursing career by obtaining a nursing associate degree and then gaining experience and additional training to move up the ladder. There are a lot of job prospects for nurses in the healthcare system and you can choose to either work in a hospital or any other employer that requires nurses like nursing homes for adults.

How to become a nurse?

Follow these steps:
HowTo step image

1. Apply to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing degree at a university:

For this, you will need a minimum of 5 credits at the GCSE level, 2 A levels or equivalents. It will take about 3 to 4 years to complete your training and become certified.

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