How to become a nurse with the NHS
There has been tremendous level of press coverage in recent times about the state of nursing in the National Health Service (the NHS) being flooded with nurses from low wage countries, as well as nurses coming over from countries like Australia, Canada and New Zealand because, the occupation supposedly isn't attractive to home grown people in terms of working conditions and pay.
The UK government has addressed these issues to an extent and, as a result, there have been significant improvements in pay and working conditions.
Reasons to become a nurse
Nursing has again, therefore, become a more attractive job option for many students planning to work in the medical sector, and adults who are either seeking a career change or are planning to get qualifications to become a nurse after a length of time out of work.
Many nurses are also people that have a very caring attitude to life, and they are able to demonstrate this while doing their job.
Unlike some other careers, becoming a nurse with the NHS does not require that you start the preparation at college. Many nurses have qualified through adult education courses, and for many others, nursing is often a career change well into their working lives. Nursing hasn't always been the preferred choice of occupation for people while at college/university, therefore, there is a large adult nursing education industry providing accredited courses for people to become certified nurses.
Steps to becoming a nurse
The most obvious route to becoming a registered nurse in the NHS is to do appropriate courses from college onwards.
- After secondary school education, a potential nurse should look to do A-Levels in sociology, perhaps biology, as this will improve the understanding of the human anatomy, which of course is important in a this profession.
A nursing degree
After completing A-Levels or vocational qualifications, a nurse needs to enrol on a nursing degree. These degrees are provided in most, if not all UK universities and are fully accredited.
- To be accepted on a nursing degree, a candidate should have at least 2 A-Levels with pass grades, preferably in subjects mentioned above. Universities have different entry requirements, you should check with individual un9iversties of their exact requirements. In general, though, two E pass grades will suffice.
- Do a short nurse access course. This will provide introductory knowledge of nursing
Nurses can also enter a degree through having done other short nursing courses, as long as they are accredited.
A nursing degree is one that has an approach that combines theoretical learning as well as a lot of hands on training. The training is often done in real-life situations, often at the more sedate pace of nursing homes.
Financing a nursing career
Like any student about to embark on an university course, finance is often at the forefront of their minds thanks to the increasing levels of tuition fees and very expensive living costs, especially in cities like London - or for that matter - in most other major city centres, too.
Tuition fees paid by the NHS
Luckily, for a nurse in the UK, the tuition fees are actually paid by the NHS; therefore, its one less thing to worry about when trying to focus your energies into obtaining your degree.
- Means-tested bursary
Nurses receive a means tested bursary - meaning the size of the bursary will depend on your individual financial circumstance.
- Student loans
The bursaries are often supplemented by student loans. The student loans are offered at fairly attractive rates.
The salary earned by a nurse will depend on various factors. Often the pay is based on the grading system used by the NHS. The grading of a nurse is dependent on the level of experience and education; Grade A (the lowest band) are nurses that are assistants and have very little training, while Grade I (the top band) is made up those in management. The nurses in Grade A can expect to earn just under £13,000 while those in management positions will make something approaching £30,000 and beyond.
Remember, after you have qualified as a certified nurse, there is nothing to stop you from seeking work in the private sector, which may potentially be more lucrative.