Becoming a nurse provides you with the opportunity to make a big difference to the lives of people in need. Nurses work as part of a team, providing direct care for people of all ages and backgrounds in a variety of settings from homes, communities and hospitals.
There are four nursing fields to choose from (mental health, learning disabilities, children’s, and adult nursing), and to become a nurse you must decide which route you would like to pursue.
Whichever field appeals to you, there will be plenty of scope to move around, work in different settings, and progress in your career.
Here are some of the routes you may take to get into nursing:
If you want to make sure that nursing is right for you and your personality, it might be a good idea to do some work experience before beginning to study the profession. Every role is unique and develops different skills, so choosing the right career path is important.
Doing volunteer work or undergoing some work experience is a great way to find out if working in the healthcare profession is right for you. Experience doesn’t necessarily need to be gained in the NHS, and could be gained in the independent health sector, or through charities and other organisations.
Some nurses begin their career in support roles, where vocational training is available through a Care Certificate – and they will then go on to complete a nursing degree.
To be eligible to study nursing, most universities require at least five A*-C grade GCSE’s including English, Maths, and Science, as well as two or preferably three A Levels.
A small number of universities offer duel field nursing degrees, where you can combine two of the fields during a four year course, yet this is less common. All degrees consist of both academic study and practice learning placements relevant to the chosen field.
Nursing Degree Apprenticeship
From early 2018, nursing degree apprenticeships will be available, and most nursing degree apprenticeships will take four years. Although the trainees will not study full time at university, they will be required to undertake academic study at degree level and meet the standards laid out by the NMC.
Visiting your local NHS Trust is often a good way of discovering what opportunities are available regarding apprenticeships and other entry routes into nursing.
The soft skills of a nurse:
- Excellent communication skills
- Calm under pressure
- Works well in a team
- Can use initiative
- Good listener
- Good character and health
- Passionate about providing compassionate care to patients