Home > Caring & Education > Becoming a Nurse

Becoming a Nurse

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Nursing Nurse Jobs Registered Nurse

Nursing can be a career for life. You can also become a nurse later on in life if you decide that a career change in this direction is definitely for you. There are many nursing jobs and roles available to suit a host of people with a variety of skills. However, the common role of a nurse is to tend the needs of the patient, rather than the illness, disease or condition.

Nursing is not restricted to hospital work, and does not necessarily involve dealing with blood, guts and gore! Once you have completed your pre-registration course, there is a multitude of module options available, so that you can choose the direction and area of healthcare that you'd like to work in. Nurses can work in patient's homes, in schools, with children, the elderly or those with mental disabilities, as well as in prisons or GP practices. The opportunities in this area are extremely varied, each with their own set of challenges and rewards.

What Skills or Qualifications Will I Need?

Before working in the NHS, you will need to complete a pre-registration course. There are many pre-registration courses available throughout the UK, and at present there is no set minimum entry qualification across the board. The entry requirements differ depending on the higher education institution chosen. It is generally thought that most entry criteria for a diploma course will require candidates to possess around 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) of Grade C and above including English literature or language and a science subject. Nursing degree courses usually require candidates to have gained at least 2 A-Level qualifications or equivalent.

If you're considering Changing Career and becoming a nurse, you should have good numeracy and literacy skills. You should also be an excellent team worker and possess good communication skills. You may also find that you have to work within extremely emotionally charged atmospheres and situations, so an ability to work and communicate calmly, sympathetically and efficiently within such situations is crucial. Observation skills are also vital, as a nurse's role can often include monitoring a patient's progress, as well as the possible resulting care routes.

Career Routes

You could start working as a healthcare assistant or in a medical or health support role, which may not require you to possess any formal qualifications, before working your way up to a level where you can apply for a degree course. Some applicants may prefer to take the route of simply going straight to a University Course to study as a nurse. The NHS tries to encourage applicants of all ages and backgrounds, by offering bursaries and paying tuition fees. You may be surprised to find that you're eligible, so make a point of checking this point out.

If you've never worked in a healthcare environment before, it is always a good idea to try to gain some level of work experience. Work experience can also include Working In A Voluntary Capacity for organisations such as St John Ambulance. This will not only provide you with an insight and experience into certain aspects of nursing, but also go a long way in showing that you are committed to a career change in nursing.

There are also many different pre-registration programmes to choose from to suit your needs. If you are only able to study part-time, there are many university courses available that will take around five or six years to complete part-time. This career route is available for staff working within the NHS, most commonly those who have gained an NVQ Level 3 working as associate practitioners or assistants.

If you have been qualified in the past with a health-related degree, or are returning to a career in healthcare, there are also opportunities to undertake an Accelerated Programme for around 2 years. However, these can be restricted to certain universities, so it is best to check out UCAS for more details to see if this route will suit you.

Staying Positive

Whatever your situation, the likelihood is that there is a nursing job and career route out there that will meet your requirements, making a career change in nursing a completely viable option. You may also wish to consider other careers in the health industry, such as a Paramedic or a Midwife.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Nick - Your Question:
I'm looking at changing careers. I currently work full time in an office environment but would love to become a nurse. Previously I have spent numerous years as a Care Assistant. This was my passion as I loved helping people & always tried to make a difference. I had my children very young and am now 43, is this too old to train to be a nurse? Also how would I go about this as I am not financially in a position not to work.

Our Response:
43 is not too old. Usually the only way to become a nurse is through completing a nursing degree. There are some on-the-job training options available - for example if you start work as a nursing associate, you may have the option to move to a nursing apprenticeship and complete the degree that way. Check with the NHS to see if there are any funding options for someone in your situation.
ACareerChange - 10-Aug-17 @ 2:31 PM
I'm looking at changing careers. I currently work full time in an office environment but would love to become a nurse. Previously I have spent numerous years as a Care Assistant. This was my passion as I loved helping people & always tried to make a difference. I had my children very young and am now 43, is this too old to train to be a nurse? Also how would I go about this as I am not financially in a position not to work.
Nick - 9-Aug-17 @ 6:56 PM
Suzy - Your Question:
I'm 17 and would like to become a nurse. I have good GCSEs, but I'm not sure if I have to get a degree or whether I could do an apprenticeship in dental nursing which would give me the qualification I needed to get on the nursing course? Is the only way to become a nurse to do the full nursing degree?

Our Response:
Yes usually the only way to become a nurse is through completing a nursing degree. There are some on-the-job training options available - for example if you start work as a nursing associate, you may have the option to move to a nursing apprenticeship and complete the degree that way. Working asdental nurse may not give you the relevant qualifications to get on to a nursing course. As you're still young, it's might be worth considering doing your A levels and a nursing degree after that. Talk to your school or college careers adviser.
ACareerChange - 4-Aug-17 @ 2:22 PM
I'm 17 and would like to become a nurse. I have good GCSEs, but I'm not sure if I have to get a degree or whether I could do an apprenticeship in dental nursing which would give me the qualification I needed to get on the nursing course? Is the only way to become a nurse to do the full nursing degree?
Suzy - 2-Aug-17 @ 2:46 PM
Loulou - Your Question:
Hi I currently work in a nursing home as a cook. I am really interested in becoming a nurse. I am 36 uears old.I work 34 hours a week how do I train plus work partime. if I gave my job up to train. How would I receive any money to pay bills and support my son of 7 years old. Many thanks

Our Response:
You can get a student loan while you study and there may be additional burseries available.
ACareerChange - 2-Aug-17 @ 12:52 PM
Nektaria- Your Question:
Hello , I have a nursing assistant degree. In Greece I have worked as a nurse. I want to work as a nurse, what should I do? Which course I should to do? Many thanks

Our Response:
The NHS Careers website is probably the easiest way to find out.
ACareerChange - 2-Aug-17 @ 12:22 PM
Hi I currently work in a nursing home as a cook... I am really interested in becoming a nurse. I am 36 uears old.I work 34 hours a week how do I train plus work partime... if I gave my job up to train. How would I receive any money to pay bills and support my son of 7 years old . Many thanks
Loulou - 31-Jul-17 @ 1:36 PM
Hello , I have a nursing assistant degree. In Greece I have worked as a nurse.I want to work as a nurse, what should I do? Which course I should to do? Many thanks
Nektaria - 30-Jul-17 @ 5:49 PM
hi i would enquiring ihave applied to uni and been put in the clearing i have my nvq level 2 and 3 in health and social and have level 1 in maths and english will that be enough to meet the requirments.
gem1 - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:03 PM
Chels - Your Question:
Hi, I am looking to change careers into the medical profession. My end goal is to become a registered nurse, specifically for emergency or A&E. I have no idea where to start in this. I am from the US, where I received my BSc before moving to London and earning my MSc. I had an EMT certifications from the US, but has expired, yet I have had the experience of working in the field for my clinicals. I would like to work in a health care role while obtaining my nursing credentials. Just don't know where I should start, what certifications or qualifications I can or should obtain in the short-term or what career route I should go after. Any advice on the matter would be much appreciated. Thnx!

Our Response:
It's worth contacting the NHS as they are trialling nursing associate roles (working as nursing with option of becoming a registered nurse) and also nursing apprenticeships. Try contacting Health Education England
ACareerChange - 7-Jul-17 @ 12:40 PM
Hi, I am looking to change careers into the medical profession. My end goal is to become a registered nurse, specifically for emergency or A&E. I have no idea where to start in this. I am from the US, where I received my BSc before moving to London and earning my MSc. I had an EMT certifications from the US, but has expired, yet I have had the experience of working in the field for my clinicals. I would like to work in a health care role while obtaining my nursing credentials. Just don't know where I should start, what certifications or qualifications I can or should obtain in the short-term or what career route I should go after. Any advice on the matter would be much appreciated. Thnx!
Chels - 6-Jul-17 @ 5:23 PM
I am a carer NVQ level 3 qualified I have 4 GCSE's Science CC Eng Lit B.Had to take a Maths and English test to finish my NVQ Level 3.I want to further my career to gain a nursing degree which course can I do.I need to work while doing the course and can I get funding
G - 8-Jun-17 @ 3:07 PM
I am looking to change my career & become an aesthetic nurse. I understand I need to do a degree in adult health & then qualify to prescribe. I am trying to find a degree course in the midlands that will provide a course not just in adult health but joint also with mental health. I have 10 GCSEs at grades c & above including maths & sciences, 3 A-levels (B,C,D) a 2:1 degree, although none of my A-levels or my degree is in maths/sciences. I would love if possible to do an accelerated 2 year degree course. Can you help or have any advice?
Claire - 4-Jun-17 @ 10:14 PM
Sam - Your Question:
I am currently working as a support worker but would like to get into nursing but I know I don't have all the qualification's needed where's the best place for me to start to become a nurse any help would be great thanks

Our Response:
The UCAS websiteis a good place to start for details of nursing courses and the entry requirements. If you don't have the entry requirements necessary, then your local college will offer either NVQs or A levels etc to study first.
ACareerChange - 31-May-17 @ 10:57 AM
Hi I've completed my nvq level 2&3 in health and social care both diplomas and I'm currently in the process of being entered into my safe handling of medication aswell as my level 5 in h&s care I'm interested in going into nursing or even midwifery what are the chances of me being able to do this my gcse are terrible not sure where to turn once my qualifications are finished thanks
kee - 29-May-17 @ 8:39 PM
I am currently working as a support worker but would like to get into nursing but I know I don't have all the qualification's needed where's the best place for me to start to become a nurse any help would be great thanks
Sam - 28-May-17 @ 10:42 PM
Hy i am working like health care assistant for 2 years soon ...i like it but i wish to be able to do more like an nurse....i have only Care certificates.....what can be next steps?
Loredana - 26-May-17 @ 8:42 AM
Hi i am wondering if it is a possibility that i could start a career in nursing alothough i havnt activly worked in the past 6 years for various personal reasons its something i am interested in doing and have previous personal care experiance how would a unemployed mother on benifits go about becoming a nurse and what funding is available to me Thanks
pixey - 15-May-17 @ 1:09 AM
Emily - Your Question:
Hi I've worked as a carer for 6 years in the community, I've got my nvq 2 and 3 in health and social care, Btec level 2 diploma in travel and tourism, my GCSE grades wasn't to great, I'm just wondering if I would have to go to college for English, maths, science before I could take a nursing course? Thanks Emily

Our Response:
Most nursing courses have Maths, English and Science GCSEs as the basic requirement (as well as A levels/NVQ level 3) for entry on to a degree course. Ask at your local college about how to attain the GCSEs or their equivalent.
ACareerChange - 8-May-17 @ 11:08 AM
Hi I've worked as a carer for 6 years in the community, I've got my nvq 2 and 3 in health and social care, Btec level 2 diploma in travel and tourism, my GCSE grades wasn't to great, I'm just wondering if I would have to go to college for English, maths, science before I could take a nursing course? Thanks Emily
Emily - 6-May-17 @ 10:23 AM
Hey, I am currently working within the healthcare sector and a care assistant I have gained my level 2 in HSC. But also I have a master degree in business and I have a teaching degree. I am Intresed in becoming a nurse. I was just wondering what my next steps would be. And is it possible to gain the qualification on the job, or will I have to go back to university. Looking for some direction as I'm lost at the moment with what I'm doing. Thank you Laura
Laura - 5-May-17 @ 4:17 PM
Hey there I am Glenn 24 years old. I am currently a single Dad working in butchery retail and qualified in the butchery trade. Been in this same line of work since i was 16. I have been inspired to look into nursing by an in law and i am very interested in this career change. No quite sure what qualifications i need to have in order to make this change? need some help to point me in the right direction? And what colleges or universities offer these courses as i live in the shetland isles? thank you
Glenn - 12-Apr-17 @ 6:26 PM
Hi, I'm 41 just returned from Spain and am looking for a career in nursing I am not sure of my GCSEs would I have to resit them to qualify do do nursing and what courses would I need to look at doing? Thank you
Tinamarina - 28-Mar-17 @ 7:51 PM
Lauren - Your Question:
Hello I have worked in care for over 3 years. I have 5 gcses that are grade c and above I want to be a mental health nurse but my a levels and degree isnt anything to do with care im currently starting my nvq level 2 in care what do I need to be a mental health nurse?

Our Response:
The easiest way to find this out is ask the entry requirements for nursing degrees at a university convenient for you. It amy be that your A level subjects and experience - together with the fact that you have shown you can complete degree level studies will be sufficient to apply without other qualifications.
ACareerChange - 24-Mar-17 @ 12:16 PM
Hello i have worked in care for over 3 years. I have 5 gcses that are grade c and above i want to be a mental health nurse but my a levels and degree isnt anything to do with care im currently starting my nvq level 2 in care what do i need to be a mental health nurse?
Lauren - 21-Mar-17 @ 1:05 PM
Hi I'm chelsea. I'm 20 years of age and am currently a healthcare/ care assistant have donever this for 3 years now. I love my job and would love to become a registered nurse, however I'm completely clueless on where and how to get started on a course to do so. Please I'd be great full for any advice. Thank you.
Chels - 13-Mar-17 @ 9:59 PM
Hi, I would like a bit of advise, I am 23 years old and currently work full time. I would love to do nursing. However I just don't know where to start with it all, as in I don't know where and how I would get the training, or is there any apprenticeships that I can do? Also I haven't got great qualifications either, I have my maths and English level 2 that I completed when I did my hairdressing courses, which I believe equivalents to a level B or C not too sure. Just not sure where to start and what qualifications I need to get into training for this and doing some sort of course. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Many Thanks Lauren.
not got one - 7-Mar-17 @ 9:08 PM
Hi i have level 3 health & social care diploma what other qualifications do i need to become a nurse im currently a support worker with adult services.
Caz - 4-Mar-17 @ 5:00 PM
Keri- Your Question:
Was just wondering where to start looking into becoming a nurse? I have GCSEs but not a levels and don't know best place to start. what all would I need to do? I would love to be a midwife is becoming a nurse first the best opinion?? So many questions and routes and don't know where to start

Our Response:
You will need to consider A levels (there are many FE colleges that offer these part time or full time), or an access/foundation course leading to a nursing degree course. The UCAS website should give you the information you need.
ACareerChange - 28-Feb-17 @ 10:46 AM
Was just wondering where to start looking into becoming a nurse? I have GCSEs but not a levels and don't know best place to start.. what all would I need to do? I would love to be a midwife is becoming a nurse first the best opinion?? So many questions and routes and don't know where to start
Keri - 26-Feb-17 @ 4:18 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Lee
    Re: How to Become an Estate Agent
    Hi i am 32 and i am currently looking for a new career change i have always had an interest for real estate but have no idea…
    19 August 2017
  • Mimie
    Re: How to Become an Air Hostess
    Hie um Marcy um completing my A level please tell me what l can do to be an air hostess.
    17 August 2017
  • ACareerChange
    Re: How to Become an Estate Agent
    Ez1 - Your Question:Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail…
    11 August 2017
  • Ez1
    Re: How to Become an Estate Agent
    Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail jobs in customer…
    10 August 2017
  • ACareerChange
    Re: Becoming a Nurse
    Nick - Your Question:I'm looking at changing careers. I currently work full time in an office environment but would love to become a nurse.…
    10 August 2017
  • Nick
    Re: Becoming a Nurse
    I'm looking at changing careers. I currently work full time in an office environment but would love to become a nurse. Previously I have spent…
    9 August 2017
  • ACareerChange
    Re: Becoming a Social Worker
    Wong - Your Question:Hi, any universities still offering the option of a further year of study converting the DipSW into a degree-level…
    8 August 2017
  • ACareerChange
    Re: How to Become an Air Hostess
    nanu - Your Question:I am studing in class 11 I wanna become a airhostess and can't decide what to do and how to start.plz help me…
    7 August 2017
  • Wong
    Re: Becoming a Social Worker
    Hi, any universities still offering the option of a further year of study converting the DipSW into a degree-level qualification? Thanks!
    7 August 2017
  • ACareerChange
    Re: Becoming a Nurse
    Suzy - Your Question:I'm 17 and would like to become a nurse. I have good GCSEs, but I'm not sure if I have to get a degree or whether I could do…
    4 August 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ACareerChange website. Please read our Disclaimer.