Starting a career in nursing

Being a nurse is a highly rewarding career and you will be working with other health professionals and will be doing a vital job. As a nurse, your role will include administering drugs, taking blood samples, treating wounds, and offering support and advice to people in need.
Being a nurse is rewarding but it’s a tough job though. It has long hours and will be very stressful, however, it is a very employable role with the need for nurses currently being very high due to the pandemic in 2020.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Nurse?

If you have decided to go into nursing, there are 4 main routes you can take:

Undergraduate Nursing Degree

There are a lot of nursing degree courses available in the UK, so you will have plenty of choices. A way to narrow down your search is to consider specialising in a certain area, as there are different types of nursing and midwifery to choose from:
– Adult Nursing
– Children’s Nursing
– Learning Disabilities Nursing
– Mental Health Nursing
– Midwifery

‘Nursing degrees attained in the UK are transferrable in many countries’ – Useful if you want to travel after finishing your degree.

Nursing Degree Apprenticeship

Degree apprenticeships are very popular as they give you the opportunity to gain the qualifications you need to be a nurse and earn a real wage at the same time. Your employer pays for your training which makes this an attractive option over going to university.

Doing an apprenticeship can feel like a normal full-time job, but you will be required to spend at least one day per week attending classes at a local university.

However, completing a Nursing degree apprenticeship takes four years to become qualified instead of the normal three but you gain experience alongside learning.

Nursing Associate Training

Nursing associate training includes a mixture of hands-on experience within the workplace, supported by some learning in the classroom.

A trainee will work alongside nurses, doing pretty much the same things as a nurse: monitoring patients, supporting patients, and explaining complex information to them.

At the end of your training, you’ll have a foundation degree which you can use to you have the opportunity to progress onto further education and become a registered nurse.

Postgraduate (PGDip or Master’s) Nursing courses

If you study your undergraduate degree in another subject but decide at a later point that you’d like to become a nurse, then another possible route into nursing would be to do a postgraduate course.
You can choose to study for a Master’s (MA) degree or a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip), both of which take between one and three years to complete.

Soft Skills You Need to Become A Nurse

As a nurse, there are certain soft skills that you need to have to excel in this profession too. Here are some personality skills needed:

Excellent communication – Vital to creating good relationships with patients, and other healthcare professionals and to gain trust.

Compassion and patience – As a nurse, you will handle sensitive situations and patients that are often worried so having compassion will help put their minds at ease.

Effective team player – You will work in a team, so having good communication and a strong relationship with your team allows you to be

Strong work ethic – Nurses tend to work long days and hours so having a passion for your work is essential

Time management – A nurse will manage multiple patients, so they need to have good time management to handle treatment and other care they provide.

Organisation – Being a nurse is a very busy job so being organised will help manage the stress of multiple patients.


Once you have completed your nursing degree, degree apprenticeship, or nursing associate training course, you will need to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register.