How do I train or qualify to be a nurse?
Training to be a nurse requires a pre-registration nursing degree. Once you have this you can register with the NMC. This will then allow you to practice. The great thing is you won’t pay any university fees. As the degree is funded by the NHS.
Choosing your branch of nursing
There are four branches of nursing that the pre-registration nursing degrees are offered in.
- Children (paediatric)
- Learning disability
- Mental health
You will need to decide which branch you would like to train in. Some universities allow you keep your options open. Others might give allow you to have two specialties under your belt.
The pre-registration degree or course
These are offered by universities. Entry requirements vary depending on the the university you choose. Generally they are quite flexible. However, some top universities require a ABB in A-levels.
The course leads to a BSc (bachelors of Science). It can also be a BN (Bachelor of Nursing). It can be full time, or part time. The full time degree will take three years for a single field. If two branches are chosen then it can take four years. Part time courses will take longer. Degrees generally take a year more in Scotland.
Students will obtain the foundations they need to follow this challenging, responsible and valuable vocation.
Nursing is diverse and has many demands. Degree courses aim to instil and diffuse all of these skills which include: academic and technical skills. A good sense of humour, being patient and compassionate.
The foundation year or first year of the nursing course is which is common to all who study to be a nurse. Basic knowledge in biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and communication is imparted. Other subjects in this year include skills to do with nursing and caring.
2nd and 3rd year
In these years, nurse students study the specialisation they have chosen.
Ongoing practical teaching and experience – participatory learning
Nurse placements in clinical settings such as hospitals as well as other settings are plenty during the course of the degree. They are fundamental to providng the basics of Nursing. Observing the patient journey can provide an insight into the workings of the health service.
Once you graduate as a nurse
Nurse graduates will have to apply to the NMC for registration. Once approved they are given an NMC pin number which will then allow them to work anywhere in the UK. Obviously, working in the NHS is the first port of call for many. However, private healthcare and working abroad are common.
Don’t forget nurse revalidation and CPD
Being a nurse is very much becoming like being a Doctor. Life long learning and reflection for self improvement. Remember that once you graduate, learning does not stop. Document any courses or CPD you do. Reflect on at least 5 of those in 3 years. Gather feedback about your practice. And every three years apply for revalidation.