How to become a nurse in the nhs

Updated April 17, 2017

The NHS is the United Kingdom's National Health Service. It is publicly funded and separated into four organisations for each of the U.K.'s four countries. England's health service is referred to as the NHS, while Scotland's is NHS Scotland, Wales is NHS Wales and Northern Ireland is the HSC. To become a nurse in the NHS you will need to complete a third-level diploma or degree in nursing. However, NHS Careers state that from 2013 on all students wishing to study nursing will have to take a degree course.

Take your GCSE and A-level exams. GCSE exams are taken before a student enters her final two years of secondary school. If you want to study a nursing diploma you must have five GCSE's with at least a grade C in English and in one science subject, explains NHS Careers. To study for a degree in nursing you will have to continue in school for two more years, studying for A-levels. A-levels are taken at the end of your final year of secondary school. You will need two A-levels for entry into a nursing degree program. The specific required grades vary from nursing school to nursing school.

Choose the branch of nursing you want to study. Before applying for an NHS nursing course you will need to choose from one of four branches: mental health, paediatrics, adults and learning disability.

Apply for the nursing programs of your choice. All students in the United Kingdom must apply for third-level courses through the UCAS. According to the UCAS, it has three different application deadlines in October, January and March. The deadlines for specific courses vary, so check to see what the deadline is for your chosen courses.

Check to see if you can get a bursary. Most nursing courses in the U.K. will have their tuition paid by the NHS. However, some students will get further financial support in the form of a NHS Student Bursary. Courses approved for financial support are listed on the NHS Student Bursaries' website. If you want to apply for a bursary you must also visit the website.

Complete your nursing degree or diploma. All students studying nursing in the United Kingdom take the same foundation course. After the first year she will then take classes focused on her speciality. Hospital and other health care facility placements begin in the second year and occur in the student's speciality area. NHS nursing diplomas and most degrees take three years; some degrees take four years, according to NHS Careers.

Register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). All nurses who wish to work in the NHS after completing a degree must register with the NMC. Your nursing school must submit a character reference in order for you to receive an NMC application. Submit your application and fee (£76 as of 2010) to the council. The NMC states that applications take two to ten days to process.


For higher earning potential and further specialising you will have to take postgraduate courses.

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About the Author

Siobhan Russell has been freelance writing for the Internet since 2003. She has written articles covering a variety of subjects for Travelwand, Yellow Pages and eHow. Siobhan has a particular interest in writing travel and equestrian articles. She has a BA Honors in History and Philosophy from National University Ireland, Maynooth.