Guide to Studying Nursing

Nursing _students

What is Nursing?

  • Nursing is a health care branch focused, not on direct medical techniques, but on the care of individuals, families, and communities who are unwell or in need of help, so they may maintain health and quality of life.
  • If hospitals were a film set, the doctors and surgeons would be the actors and actresses, while nurses would be the lighting and make-up - you may think the stars could do a job without them, but really they'd be stuck.

Why study Nursing?

  • Many nurses, despite the high pressure and low pay, report good levels of job satisfaction. Why? Because you have the satisfaction of improving lives and making people happy. That's real satisfaction.
  • With chronic nursing shortages both in the NHS and all over the world, you’re pretty much guaranteed a job if you complete a nursing course. Your country needs you. Badly.
  • You learn a complete set of medical skills. Think nursing is all about sticking needles in arms? You're wrong. Your training spans health science, social science, technology and theory. Better get revising.
  • Having all the problems of the patients - and the doctors - thrown at you at once is a challenge, but many nurses say this is what they thrive on. If you like variety and a job that keeps you on your toes, this is for you.
  • Nursing is a profession with serious promotion opportunities. Start out as a staff nurse - jack of all trades - before specialising later on and gaining a more senior rank. The pay gets good near the top too.

Coursework, assessment and exams

  • You will be assessed throughout the programme in both theory and practice elements. A variety of assessment methods, including presentations, essays, reports and exams will be used.
  • As with all medical degrees, plenty of time will be devoted to practical work, hours spent on long hospital ward shifts. These will also be used to determine whether you are fit for nursing.

What degree can I get?

  • Adult Nursing
  • Mental Health Care
  • Nursing with Learning Disabilities
  • Children's Nursing

What qualifications do I need?

  • You will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, plus two A levels or equivalent.
  • Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you are interested in.

Use our Course Chooser to search through Nursing courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Examples include a PgDip in Community Health Nursing, MSc Advanced Practice, MPhil Nursing and Midwifery, MSc Addiction Nursing, and a straight Masters in Nursing.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Nursing, obviously, has a clear careers passage, and if you decide to pursue a degree in it you should be committed to it as a career. There are a number of different paths through the nursing field, however.
  • Particular job areas include, as well as the traditional adult nurse, as a home visitor, nursing those with learning disabilities or mental health issues, midwifery, paramedic, paediatrician, counsellor, or social worker.
  • Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Nursing graduates, such as the NHS.