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.
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 through 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.
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.
Hi im 33 years old and I've come to the stage in my life I want a career change and nursing always pops up.
think id like to do nurse /wife training id love to work with babies and kids. Im a hairdresser so I am geat with people. I have 1 chid at school and also have 1 year old. want to know how and whareI can get help for my career change .
Anna - 14-Jun-13 @ 9:16 PM
I like to become a nurse but my problem is that,I don't have matric I do have abet
Level 4 and I love nursing with all of my heard if anyone who can
Help me please tell where can I go nursing studies.i tried most colleges in
Gauteng they I don't qualify because of abet.
Mphoza - 20-May-13 @ 7:53 PM
I am currently a pupil enrolled nurse /midwife ,graduating in may this year and after graduating for this certificate very soon in May 2013 want to apply for a Diploma in Nursing and Midwifery in the United kingdom or in Australia will it be possible for me is so please forward me names of universities , fees and all information please
Tjimee - 15-Mar-13 @ 7:54 AM
Hello I have just started work in the care sector and would love to become a nurse, i have no formal qualifications well except for a diploma in performing arts. I anybody is aware of any programs please let me know, or what I could do to gain necessary skills and modules needed to become a nurse.....thank you
not so informed - 18-Sep-12 @ 12:43 AM
i am 16 and im retaking some of my gcse's i would like to become a nurse in the futre as i used to spend alot of time in my local hospital with mental health problems and medical problems. i would like top know what grades i will need to become a nurse. and if it is a good career to join, i do like caring and making sure people feel comforable and i would believe im good at listening to people when they need to talk. if someone could reply with the relivent info that waoulsd be great
titch..x - 10-Sep-12 @ 8:32 AM
I am going to nursing university this year. I am a 30 year old mature student. I did access to nursing last year from my local college. when i was in college, there were many mature student including students above 45. I am always living by law of attraction. I will become a nurse. Just stay positive and think you can do anything and everything.
samsara - 10-Sep-12 @ 12:43 AM
My twin daughters have nearly qualified as nurses doing a 3 year diploma. One has passed everything, the other has failed her final exam twice, however, 2nd time she passed part b and failed part a. She had tutorials with her named marker who went over everythin with her but still failed. She has a third attempt but willnot qualify in sept 2012, what will happen if she fails again , shes at her wits end and has even got a job scoring the highest out of 150 candidates . Your advice would be greatly appreciated .
Angel - 15-Aug-12 @ 1:18 PM
Hi I'm 41yrs old and the last of my 4 children will be starting school in September ... I would love to be a nurse / midwife but just don't know where to go for help ... The last time I was at college was in the 80s ..... Could anyone put me on the right track please for some useful
Information for someone like myself ....
Lynda - 3-Aug-12 @ 12:02 PM
iv worked in health care since 18yrs old, im now in my fortys would dearly love to train in adult mental health nursing . have tons exsperiance but not many qualifications. i do have nvq level 2 in health and socialcare and btec level 3 health and social care. were should i go from hear, this would be my dream job.
broom broom - 30-Jul-12 @ 2:28 PM
Hello! i'm a graduate of nursing here in the philippines and was thinking of taking up nursing in a university in the UK but i'm having second thoughts as to whether it's easy to find employment in UK after graduating?
xiaorou - 20-Jul-12 @ 2:55 PM
i am 40 yrs old, having worked in the health care industry for 18 years i decided it was time to go on and enter the nursing field. My chosen path is Mental Health, i went on to do the "fast-track" access to he. i have just completed my couse and managed to gain distinctions and merits. i recently went to uni for an interview and i have secured a place. If i can achieve this anyone can you just need to look at your options and need to decide which branch you want to study as you can not change this half way through.
hope this helps some of you thinking of where to go and what to do.
Texas8 - 10-Jul-12 @ 12:06 AM
I have a diploma in health and social care a diploma in counselling and an advanced diploma in psychology i have also worked as a mental health nurse in a CAHMS unit covering maternity leave.I am so desperately wanting to become a mental health nurse.Any advice would be much appreciated i am currently working as a volunteer counsellor for ChildLine and Mind, I am just wanting an opportunity to become a mental health nurse.
cwl - 4-Jul-12 @ 2:53 PM
hi, my daughter is 18 just finishing 6th form she has done level 3 health and social care btec and got dmm.....would she be ok to do a ocnlr diploma in access to nursing first before going to uni ....advice please
lostparent - 31-May-12 @ 4:45 PM
I did a degree a few years ago in Tourism Management which has nothing to do with nursing. I have heard along the grapevine that any degree enables you to do a nursing degree for 2 years instead of 3 years. Is this true?
JennaBear - 29-May-12 @ 2:34 PM
It is no longer General nurse, its either adult, mental health, childrens or learning disability depending on which specialism you prefer. To complete a degree in health sciences you need 5 GCSE's with science and maths and 3 A levels. The course is 3 years, consisting of 37.5 hours a week plus the hours spent on writing assignments or revising for exams. You also will have time on placements in various settings to gain clinical skills. You have to be committed to do the course as it is very demanding and not an easy option! but the rewards speak for themselves, i love my job and would never consider doing anything else, but its not an easy degree, look around at different universities and go on forums to see which ones give the best support. Good luck to you all!
janey - 24-Apr-12 @ 4:23 AM
@Granny-S. Yes I hope that point is clear from the article? You can of course update your qualification to obtain a nursing degree part time whilst working if you are already a health professional.
ACareerChange - 23-Apr-12 @ 10:22 AM
Nursing courses are ALL DEGREE from September 2012 - there is not an option of not doing a degree.Entrants will all require A levels or an Access course with distinction/merit passes, or equivalent.Entry on GCSEs alone will no longer be possible.
Granny_S - 21-Apr-12 @ 3:57 PM
i have did a 3 year nursing diploma course and have failed my final exam. what can i do????
tiny - 25-Mar-12 @ 9:52 PM
I'm almost 40 yrs and a single mother, have been helping run my parents meals service for elderly and disabled for 20yrs, i really enjoy working with the public and have gained alot of experience in the care sector having to be understanding and patient. i am now very interestd in a nursing career as i feel my age and experience would be of value, however, i do not hold too many qualifications and would like to know how i go about applying for nurse training.
kell - 13-Mar-12 @ 2:49 PM
i have cache level2 and about to finish level 3 and want to change my career into adult nursing, will the university take me for degree.
kemi - 28-Nov-11 @ 2:00 PM
i have worked in a nursery with children from birth to five and worked with children with disabilities in the nursery to and i have gained my level 2 and level 3 in childcare and i want to change my career to become a childrens nurse and work with children with disabilities or even midwifery how do i go about that?
changingcareer - 13-Nov-11 @ 2:28 PM
I'm currently due to enroll at a sixth form college and recently discovered that to get into a uni for nursing/midwifery, it works on a points system. I have chosen BTEC Medical Mcience but was wondering if this dosn't have any more points, should I have chsen Health and Social care? And could you possibly advise me how to build up point so I have a beeter chance of getting into a good university? Thankyou.
Beth - 15-Aug-11 @ 11:36 AM
hi i was wondering how much it costs to get the necessary qualifications to become a general nurse? Thank you
meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - 12-Jul-11 @ 8:40 PM
I have always wanted to retrain as a Nurse and believe the time is right.I have 17 years Secondary teaching experience and believe I would be applicable for 'fast-track' training. Would you let me have any further information.Yours Jacqui
jacqui - 1-Jun-11 @ 5:16 PM
I have been working as a health care assisstant for nearly a year now and i love it. I now want to go further to become an adult nurse. I have GCSE in maths english and science i also have a BTEC first diploma in health and social care and double A-level in health and social care. However i did not get a place in university and i was looking for other pathways into nursing?
abby - 13-May-11 @ 12:24 PM
I have a B.T.E.C First Diploma in Caring that I gained in college but then took a year off to get a job to get money but never returned to college. I would like advice on how I can persue my training to become a nurse. I am now 25yrs old and worried that I have left it too late to be able to qualify as a nurse or that I am too old as the courses are long.
lalabwshka - 10-Apr-11 @ 3:49 PM
When I was younger I always wanted to be a teacher but as I decided what I wanted to do at college this year in september I went from teaching to being a physio but now changed my mind again I've got my mind set on being a nurse/midwife. I've got onto my course at college as health and social level3. Is this the right one? Should I apply at the hospital nearest to mine and put an aplication form in?
Jade laa - 1-Apr-11 @ 10:44 AM
I am coming to the end of my last year in high school and I want to become a nurse but when I've asked my careers adviser shes tried to push me to do different things like veterinarian nursing or dental assistant, I dont know why.I just want to know simply what I have to do to become a nurse. I know that I will most likely need 5 GCSE's at grade C or above or the equivalent but what do I do after that? Should I go and find a hospital that will train me or am I too young. Should I go to sixth form college and do science and then go on to do a nursing degree or are there any nursing courses in sixth form.
confused - 31-Mar-11 @ 1:24 PM
Just ask at your local nursing colleges and they will let you know how you can use your valuable experience as a carer to get into nursing.
ACareerChange - 15-Mar-11 @ 11:21 AM
I have been a carer in a nursing home for 20 years,and have my NVQ level 2,3 and would like to further my career into nursing, how can I do this?