Thinking about becoming a nurse? Here’s what you need to know

Nursing isn’t just a job, it’s a vocation. Everyday you’re helping people recover from illnesses and injuries. You can have a positive impact on their recovery, your care can be the difference between life and death.

That being said, it’s an incredibly tough job and not for the faint hearted! There will be days that are very difficult, both emotionally and physically.

In the end, if you can manage the trickier days, it’s an extremely rewarding and challenging career path. 

Why choose nursing? 

You’ll make a difference – There’s not many jobs where you get to help so many people throughout your career. You’ll get to know your patients on a personal level through difficult times in their life. Your interactions with them can make a real difference to their recovery. 

No day is the same – You’ll meet lots of new people every day and deal with different problems. Throughout your career as a nurse you can try out lots of different specialisms such as paediatrics, community nursing, mental health, surgery and many more!

It’s a challenge – During your career you’ll be the go to person to fix problems. If you like a challenge and a fast-paced environment, nursing could be the career for you!

You’re always learning – As a nurse you’ll be training throughout your career for new qualifications and as medicine progresses you’ll always be learning new things about how to help people.

You’ll have job security – Nursing is the UK’s most employable degree with 94% of students getting a job within 6 months of finishing their course. 

A fully qualified nurse in England starts on £21,692 a year rising to £28,180.

How to become a nurse in the UK

Most people qualify by studying for a degree in nursing. This isn’t all exams and books, you’ll also have practical hands-on experience with patients in hospitals and community settings. First off, you’ll need to decide which type of nursing you want to study in.

The four different types of nursing are:

  • Adult nursing
  • Children’s nursing
  • Learning disability nursing
  • Mental health nursing

There are some degree courses where you can study in two fields. These are called ‘dual field’ degrees. Once you have qualified you’ll be able to work as a nurse anywhere in the UK and even internationally!

To study nursing as a degree you’ll need to hit the entry requirements set by your university. Each university has its own entry requirements but you’re likely to need at least two (usually three) A-levels or equivalent qualifications at level 3, and GCSEs including Maths, English and a Science (usually Biology or Human Biology).

You can find where to do a nursing degree here.

If a degree isn’t for you you can do a Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (RNDA). To apply for this you’ll usually need level 3 Maths and English qualifications. This might be a better route into the nursing world for you if you don’t want to study full time. During your training you’ll work in a range of practice placements such as hospitals, people’s homes, mental health facilities and GP practices.

Typically, RNDAs take four years but you can shorten this to two if you have some prior experience such as a relevant level 5 qualification.

Find out more about RNDAs here.

Find an RNDA course near you here.

You can also start your journey to be a nurse by becoming a Nursing Associate. This role sits alongside existing nursing support care workers and fully-qualified nurses in both health and social care.

Although a Nursing Associate isn’t a registered nurse, this role allows people from all backgrounds the opportunity to progress to train to become a nurse. Trainee roles are often available in a variety of health and care settings. This means that Nursing Associates have wider opportunities and more flexibility to move between acute, social and community and primary care.

Apply to become a Nursing Associate here.

How can Florence help? 

If this sounds like the career for you and you decide to become a nurse then once you’ve had one years’ clinical experience in the field be sure to let us know! With Florence you can decide which shifts you work, how much you want to get paid and where you work.

Florence Flex is free to use. Sign up and you’ll have a huge choice of shifts available to you.

Each shift page includes a description of the job, location and pay so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Find out more about Florence here.

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