If you enjoy working with people and would like to make a difference to their lives nursing has a lot to offer you. You need to be non-judgmental and a good communicator, with the ability to listen, empathise and provide support. Nursing attracts all kinds of personalities from all sorts of backgrounds. Whether you're an extravert or introvert you'll find an area of nursing that helps you to fulfil your potential.
Each higher education institution sets its own entry requirements. However, these are usually around at least five GCSEs or equivalent at grade C or above in English language or literature and a science subject for a diploma programme, and five GCSEs plus two A-levels or equivalent for a degree programme. All applicants must be able to demonstrate evidence of literacy, numeracy and good character.
A list of higher education institution is available from UCAS.
The NHS and education sector encourages applications from people with a wide range of academic and vocational qualifications. It is essential that applicants check with each HEI directly before applying to see if their qualifications meet their required entry standard.
Further details are available from NHS Careers (England) or the organisations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales listed (see application process).
You have to complete a health questionnaire when you apply for nurse or midwifery training and will be asked to identify any special needs related to a disability. Your acceptance on a course will be subject to satisfactory health clearance. If you have a disability, you may find it useful to contact Skill - the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, on telephone number 0800 328 5050, or visit its website.
If you have any past convictions, you will need to declare this on the application form. The university will also ask you to sign a form allowing them to check whether you have a police record. You will not automatically be barred from entering the nursing or midwifery profession if you have a criminal conviction or caution. The university will take into account the circumstances surrounding the case and should treat any information in the strictest of confidence.
Cadet and apprenticeship schemes
A few health care providers offer a cadet or apprenticeship scheme. This enables you to undertake an initial training programme, successful completion of which gives you an NVQ level three or access to nursing qualification. You are then supported to apply to a nearby university to take a nursing diploma or degree course, leading to registration as a nurse. Further details are available from NHS Careers.