There is no doubt about it: nurses have continued a pivotal purpose throughout history. From providing emergency care that directly saves lives to ensuring that elderly or infirm individuals are able to enjoy a less restricted existence, nursing professionals are dedicated to making a significant contribution towards the wellbeing of society.
This is particularly true in the UK, where the publically operated NHS provides universal coverage and care for anyone who is in need. So, whether you consider the estimated 550,000 car-related deaths that occurred in Britain up to 2010 or the needs of individuals who struggle with physical or learning disabilities, nurses are available to deliver a range of treatments throughout the public sector.
How to Establish a Nursing Career in the UK
While the importance of nursing cannot be denied, the challenge facing those who wish to establish a career in this sector is far from straightforward. There are a number of requirements and career niches for aspiring nurses to consider, for example, while the demands of this profession mean that applicants must show dedication and a willingness to exceed the expectations of patients. So, here are the key steps towards forging a nursing career in the UK: -
1. Consider Your Minimal Requirements
While there are currently no standardized minimum academic entry requirements for nurses in the UK, there is a general guide on what each higher education authority looks for when assessing aspiring nurses. There is usually a minimum requirement of five GSCEs at Grade C or above, for example, while some will also require you to have at least two A-Level qualifications (or NVQ, SVQ and higher national diploma equivalents). This should support a competent level of literacy and numeracy, which are the building blocks of any progressive career.
What do you need to do?
Meeting these requirements is crucial, so it is first important to consider the higher education institutions that you are applying to and make a precise note of their minimum academic requirements. The next step is to make sure that you meet these criteria in every conceivable way, even revisiting your education to ensure that you have the required GSCEs and A-Level standard qualifications. In order to distinguish yourself further, you may want to consider pre-med volunteer opportunities in the nursing sector (either through a hospital or care facility) and develop some initial experience within the field.
2. Embrace Higher Education and Relevant Training
Historically, nurses could pursue higher education in the form of Diploma courses which were available through various mediums. These have been discontinued now, however, as the government has looked to improve the quality of training, education and regulatory boundaries provided to nurses. Instead, you will need to acquire a degree in nursing and register with the national Nursing and Midwifery Council. This is a staple requirement for all of the various niches and job roles available within the industry, as without this it is impossible to become certified or practice as a qualified nurse in the UK.
What do you need to do?
In total, there are four pre-registration and full-time nursing degree courses in the UK, each of which covers a specific sector of the field. Adult, mental health, learning disability and children’s nursing degrees are all available nationwide and spread over the course of three years, while those who have yet to determine their precise path can hedge their bets with dual branch qualifications that cover two areas of the industry. These run for an extra year, but they enable you to think carefully about your future career and make an informed decision. If you are in a position where you have initially failed to qualify for a nursing degree, you can adopt a role as an unregistered healthcare assistant before making a renewed application in the future.
3. Tailor Your Search and Find Suitable Work Within Your Field
Once you have your academic and higher education qualifications, the next step is to find work. E-recruitment sites are an excellent resource to achieve this, as they will expose you to a wide number of real-time job opportunities across multiple sectors. The main benefit of these sites is that you can tailor your search to include specific job sectors and regions, while also ensuring that you consider positions that reflect your skills, experience and salary expectations. Making an informed decision with regards to your job is crucial, as it helps you to successfully launch your career without experiencing a high turnover of positions.
What do you need to do?
If you have already performed vocational or voluntary work placements while acquiring your nursing accreditation, you will have a huge advantage when entering the workplace. You can consolidate this by selecting a national recruitment website that covers the breadth of the UK, with resources such as Nursing Personnel offering an excellent example. This site categorizes jobs by type, salary and region, so you can immediately target those that are most suitable. You should also look to register your résumé and credentials with sites of this type in addition to browsing, as this will enable you to benefit from an agency service that actively targets employers.
By following these steps meticulously, you can organically develop your nursing career and achieve all of your professional goals. With qualification, experience and an appreciation that nursing is a vocational career that demands genuine dedication to duty, you can go as far as you desire.