JOB PROFILE: Adult Nurse Qualifications and courses
Qualifications and courses
You must hold a degree in adult nursing that has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Minimum entry requirements for a degree are usually 2–3 A levels/H grades, ideally including a science-based subject, and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England), including English, maths and a science subject. All applicants must obtain clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before commencing their training.
If you do not have the required GCSEs/A levels, some universities will accept other qualifications, such as the BTEC Level 3 qualifications in Health and Social Care (Health Sciences), or an Access to Higher Education Diploma in a science or health-related subject. Check your desired university for their specific entry requirements.
Graduates with a degree in a health-related subject such as human biology, life and medical sciences or biomedical science, may be eligible to enter the nursing profession by taking an accelerated 2-year programme that leads to a Master of Science (MSc) or Postgraduate Diploma.
Pre-entry experience is not essential, but relevant experience as a care worker or in some other work with people is good preparation.
You are eligible to register as a nurse with the NMC once you have completed an approved nursing degree. Nurses are expected to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) throughout their career to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
Alternatively, you could take a nursing degree apprenticeship. Degree apprenticeships will qualify applicants to the same level as a graduate and typically take 4 years to complete.
What the work involves
Adult nurses assess the needs of each patient in order to plan a care programme for them. You will work alongside doctors and other medical practitioners to observe how patients progress on treatment plans and modify them as necessary. You will also give patients practical care such as administering medicines and injections, changing dressings and checking blood pressure.
You could work in a variety of positions, such as a community nurse, occupational nurse or healthcare assistant.
Type of person suited to this work
You will be working with patients from all parts of the community who will have a wide range of problems, so it is essentail to remain non-judgemental and sympathetic. A clear understanding of confidentiality is essential.
You will need excellent communication skills in order to interact with patients, explain care plans and illnesses, and calm those who are angry or distressed.
You will also need to be very practical with good maunal dexterity for undertaking precision jobs such as taking blood.
You will usually work 37.5 hours per week but overtime is available for those who want it. If you are working in a hospital, these hours will include night and weekend shifts.
You could work in a number of locations including hospitals, GP surgeries, prisons, hospices and in patients’ homes. If you are required to travel around in the local community, a driving licence is useful.
Adult nurses in hospitals work in specific wards, such as intensive care or accident and emergency.
There is currently a huge shortage of nurses, and so the job is in huge demand in the UK. The Royal College of Nursing reports that England needs at least 20,000 more nursing staff.
The majority of job opportunities lie within the NHS, although other employers include private hospitals, the armed forces, hospices and nursing homes, and the prison service.
With experience and additional qualifications, you could specialise in a subject of interest such as neurology or cardiology, and go on to become a nurse consultant.
UK nursing qualifications are recognised across the globe so there are opportunities to work abroad.
Helping a wide range of people to get better or become more independent is both rewarding and enjoyable.
There are opportunities to work flexible hours or part time. Career breaks are common and the NHS runs specialist courses to get nurses who have had a break back up to speed quickly.
You may have to deal with distressed, angry or violent patients.
Nurses' salaries follow a rising scale divided into 9 bands. As a fully qualified nurse you could start on band 5, which pays between £23,023 and £29,608. Those who take on a senior position with additional responsibilities can advance towards band 6, which pays between £28,050 and £36,644.
If you specialise in a particular area and undertake the training to become a nurse consultant, you could advance towards band 7, which pays £33,222–£43,041, or band 8, which pays £42,414–£85,333.
Content generously provided by Indigo Trotman.