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Nursing guide

Study Nursing and you'll learn a complete set of medical skills. Your training will span health science, social science, technology and theory.

Nurses and doctors walking through corridor in hospital

CONTENTS

  1. What's Nursing?

  2. Why study Nursing?

  3. What jobs can you get with a Nursing degree?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Nursing?

Nursing is a branch of healthcare 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.

Why study Nursing?

Many nurses, despite the high pressure and low pay, report good levels of job satisfaction. This is because they get to improve lives and make people happy.

Nursing is a noble and altruistic profession, concerned primarily with the aiding of others. If you have an interest in genuinely improving someone's well-being, helping a sick person to be as comfortable as possible or even delivering a new life into the world, a Nursing course is an obvious next step in your career.

As with many medical degrees, Nursing boasts a very high Graduate Prospects average score. This means that employment is highly likely after you graduate; as a registered nurse, your skills are in demand throughout the country.

It's also a profession with serious promotion opportunities. You start out as a staff nurse where you cover many areas. Later you can specialise and gain a more senior rank. The pay gets higher the more senior you become.

As careers go, Nursing is a dynamic one. A typical day at work could be a challenging yet exciting affair. You're not confined to the UK either – nurses are needed all around the world.

Nursing is one term for any number of jobs. A Nursing degree can be in midwifery, palliative care, school nursing, children's nursing, adult nursing and many other areas. Your degree can therefore be tailored to make it relevant to your interests. Switching fields is reasonably simple.

I enjoy the lectures and group work, to get the cohort working together and with people we've not met before. I feel this increases my confidence, communication and listening skills as I will be in similar situations once qualified working alongside the MDT (multidisciplinary team), and making referrals to people that I have never met.

I enjoy the practical side to my degree. The clinical skills lecturers are very knowledgeable and supportive with any questions I have. I feel we cover a good amount of clinical skills, moving and handling, basic life support, in hospital life support, and nutrition to name a few.

I love the eight weeks we have on placements in various trusts and getting to know how other trusts work, seeing new places and faces. I feel the placement books are a very good tool and provide guidance to see our improvements through different placements and mentors, and achieving new goals for each placement.

Natasha, University of Staffordshire

Female healthcare worker checking the blood pressure of a senior woman during a home visit

What jobs can you get as a Nursing graduate?

Nursing has a clear career passage. If you decide to pursue a Nursing degree, it's recommended you commit to it for a career. There are a number of different paths through the field, however.

As well as a traditional adult nurse, you could get a job as a midwife, home visitor, learning disability and mental health issue specialist, paramedic, paediatrician, counsellor or social worker.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Nursing graduates, such as the NHS.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need?

You usually need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, plus two A Levels (or equivalent).

Some courses may ask for an A Level in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology. You may also need a CACHE qualification or diploma in childcare, education or care.

Grades and requirements vary between institutions. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

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

How will you be assessed?

You'll 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, including hours spent on long hospital ward shifts. These will also be used to determine whether you are fit for nursing.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include a PgDip in Community Health Nursing, MSc Advanced Practice, MPhil Nursing and Midwifery, MSc Addiction Nursing and a straight master's in Nursing.

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