How to Train to Be a Nurse in Scotland

Updated April 17, 2017

Scotland needs more nurses. According to the website "Scotland Is The Place," there is a shortage of about a thousand nurses and midwives, particularly senior-level nurses and those who provide care for the elderly. Most nurses in Scotland are employed by the National Health Service, but some work for the armed forces, education establishments, the prison service, and for private health care providers and private companies. Attributes necessary to be a nurse in Scotland include the ability to work as part of a health care team and keep cool in an emergency. Good people skills are also essential.

Before applying for a training course, decide on the field of nursing you'd like to enter. You can train as a midwife or nurse for adults or children, or you can learn to care for those with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Consider your academic qualifications. If you do not have the qualifications necessary for entry into a degree program, enrol in an access course at a college or university. Mature students can prepare for admittance by studying for a Scottish Vocational Qualification at level 3, an Access to Nursing course, a Return to Practice course, or by gaining course credits from the Open University.

Apply for a Diploma of Higher Education or a degree in nursing. Choose a Nursing & Midwifery Council-approved program; these meet certain standards in education and training. Approved university institutions in Scotland are Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow Caledonian, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, Abertay, Dundee, Glasgow, Stirling and West of Scotland. In Scotland you must be at least 16 to apply for the course and at least 17 on the first day of the course.

Prove that you have no criminal convictions by completing a Disclosure Scotland check. Provide evidence that you do not have Hepatitis B and have been immunised against it.

Pay for your course. You may be eligible for a bursary from the Scottish Government Health Department. Contact The Students Awards Agency of Scotland for more information.


A nursing program usually lasts three to four years so be sure you are committed to joining the profession before you apply.

Things You'll Need

  • Academic qualifications
  • Degree course application
  • Disclosure Scotland check
  • Proof of Hepatitis B immunity
  • Financing
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About the Author

Marianne Lafferty has been writing professionally since 2008. She has a Master of Arts in journalism and her online articles specialize in music, reading, health and fitness and personal development.