How To Become A Nurse In UK:12 Best Steps

In the UK, becoming a nurse is a common and dependable career choice. There are various chances for job advancement and specialization available to nurses in the medical field.

In this post, we will go over how to become a nurse in UK, what skills and certifications are required, and what a nurse does.

Who is a Nurse?

Those who are ill, hurt, or have physical limitations are cared for by nurses, who are medical professionals.

Every day, nurses who keep an eye on their patient’s vital signs and make sure they get the care they require save patients’ lives.

To choose the appropriate course of treatment for a patient, they collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Based on what interests them the most—for example, pediatrics, gerontology, or anesthesiology—many nursing students decide to focus their studies or pursue a career in that area of the healthcare sector.

How To Become a Nurse In UK

According to the National Health Service, there are 2 main ways to become a nurse in the UK:

1. Completing a University Degree

Most people who want to be nurses pursue a nursing degree. After deciding that you want to become a nurse, you must choose the specialty that best suits your interests.

The Nursing & Midwifery Council has authorized the following 4 nursing specialties:

  • Adult nursing
  • Children’s nursing
  • Learning disability nursing
  • Mental health nursing

Additionally, there are some degrees called dual degrees that let you study two different fields at once.

If you’ve already gone to college and wish to switch to nursing, you can enroll in the second year of a nursing degree if you have a degree in one of the following:

  • A health-related subject
  • Psychology
  • Life sciences
  • Social work

A nursing degree is typically earned in three years.

Depending on the university, a nursing degree will have different entry requirements.

You will need four or five GCSEs in English, math, and science in grades 9 to 4 for the majority of universities.

A level 3 diploma or two to three A levels, one of which should be in a science, are also required.

2. Undergoing Apprenticeship

You can also become a nurse by completing an apprenticeship for a registered nurse degree (RNDA).

Apprenticeships combine education and on-the-job training.

Those who complete an RNDA will have a part-time schedule at a hospital or medical center so they can go to school.

This path to nursing is more flexible because it doesn’t call for full-time university attendance.

Most RNDAs are finished in four years. However, the term of the apprenticeship may be shortened to merely two years if you have accreditation of prior learning and experience (APEL) in a pertinent field of study.

In this NHS Course Finder, you may see if the majority of hospitals accept the credits from your past courses as APEL.

You will require four or five GCSEs in the range of 9 to 4, as well as A levels or the equivalent, to apply for an RNDA.

Required Certification For Nurses in the UK

You must register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council after completing the education and training required to become a nurse.

In the UK, this organization regulates the profession of nursing and establishes the conduct and practice standards for nurses.

You must pass an English language test as well as a competency test to be eligible for this certification.

Nurses must also undergo an expanded background check before working in many hospitals and medical facilities.

Employers require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check from every employee who works with children or in healthcare.

A DBS check will reveal any pending convictions, cautions, reprimands, or last-minute warnings from the law.

Common Duties for Nurses in the UK

The jobs a nurse performs on a daily basis vary based on the day and the hospital or business you work for.

The following are some common duties that all nurses need to be able to complete:

  • The patient’s temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate should be taken.

  • assist medical professionals with patient physical examinations and administer medications and injections.

  • Cleanse and treat injuries.

  • Set up blood transfusions and drips.

  • Utilize medical equipment from your hospital.

  • Follow up with patients’ doctors to provide information on their progress.

  • Identify the patient’s optimal course of treatment in collaboration with other healthcare professionals.

  • Inform patients and their family members.

Nursing Skills

Being a nurse can occasionally be challenging on an emotional and physical level. To succeed as a nurse, you will need the following abilities:

Sensitivity and understanding

It’s crucial to be sensitive to and cognizant of the people you are treating. Many patients may be fearful or even cruel while undergoing a medical episode or operation.

It’s critical to understand how to interact with individuals while they experience various emotions.

Empathy for the patient can make it easier for you to relate to them and comprehend what they are going through. Good patient relations can make other jobs much simpler for you.

The ability to work well under pressure

Every day as a nurse brings with it fresh, interesting difficulties. Nurses work with a variety of individuals who have various health issues.

While variation might add interest to their work, it can also add strain and uncertainty. Nurses must be able to handle high levels of stress while still doing their technical duties.

They must be ready to work in life or death scenarios. In a hospital, things can get out of hand quickly, so a nurse needs to be able to keep up.


A nurse needs to be a great communicator. Depending on who they are speaking to, they need to adjust their communication style.

They must be knowledgeable, effective, and professional while speaking with other nurses and doctors about the patient.

They must be compassionate and able to convey complicated medical concepts in straightforward language while speaking with patients or the patient’s families.

Customer service

While giving the patient the finest care possible is your top priority as a nurse, it’s equally critical to treat the patient’s family with respect.

For some people, being in a hospital or other medical facility can be distressing.

A nurse must be able to tell when a patient or a member of their family is uneasy or disturbed and work to make things better.

While performing tests and other medical procedures on a patient, nurses can make the patient feel more at ease.

Team Playing

To effectively carry out their duties, nurses must be able to collaborate with other members of the medical team.

They must be able to communicate with other nurses, and medical professionals who care for the patient, including doctors, paramedics, healthcare assistants, and others.

It can be easier to give the patient quick, effective care if you are aware of your place on the healthcare team and how it relates to others.

A desire to help others

The best medical treatment must be given, and all nurses must have a passion to assist others.

Many people view nursing as both a career and a lifelong calling. Many nurses find that when they are having a difficult day, their desire to aid others in their moment of need keeps them motivated.

How Much Do Nurses Earn in the UK?

In the UK, a nurse makes an average pay of £30,997. Depending on a number of variables, including need, particular job responsibilities, training, education, and experience level, this amount may change.

An experienced nurse may earn up to £37,890 a year; this is just their beginning pay.

The wage for a nurse is determined by a 37 to the 42-hour work week.

Since most nurses work shifts, they could put in odd hours throughout a 24-hour period.

Additionally, nurses may have to work on weekends and public holidays.

Entry Requirements For Nursing in UK

Because each university has its own entry standards, there are different entry requirements for nursing degree programs.

However, you will likely need at least two (often three) A-levels or comparable level 3 qualifications, as well as supporting GCSEs in English, math, and science (usually biology or human biology).

To learn if credentials similar to GCSEs or A-levels are accepted, speak with universities directly.

Level 3 credentials could include:

  • Qualifications for the Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma

  • Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers

  • Cambridge Technicals OCR

  • The International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • Access to nursing courses, for example

The preferred or required A-level or equivalent disciplines for many courses are science (for example, biology) or social science (for example psychology).

Some universities provide foundation-year courses for students who lack the entry requirements.

You might be able to combine your academic and professional credentials in specific circumstances (like an A-Level with a BTEC).

It’s crucial to keep in mind that each university has its own requirements for nursing students.

Where To Study Nursing

Nursing degrees are available from several universities. Use the NHS Course Finder to find a list of courses. Check out how to study nursing in UK, the fees & requirements.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL), a method that allows you to take a postgraduate study in two instead of three years, is frequently available if you already hold a degree in a suitable field.

The NHS Course Finder can be used to locate these programs as well.

How To Apply

UCAS is used to submit applications for full-time nursing programs. For information on the application process for part-time studies, get in touch with the individual universities. Writing personal statements? Check out UCAS’s helpful advice.

Alternative Ways To Become A Nurse in the UK

  • Registered nurse degree apprenticeships (RNDA)
  • Nursing associate

Registered nurse degree apprenticeships (RNDA)

An alternative to a full-time university education that enables flexibility is the registered nursing degree apprenticeship (RNDA).

You must find employment as an RNDA before your employer releases you to attend school part-time. You will receive training in a variety of clinical settings, including hospitals, GP offices, patients’ homes, and mental health facilities.

The average RNDA program lasts four years, though it can be shorter if APEL (accreditation of prior experience and learning) acknowledges your past education and experience.

For instance, if you possess a level 5 qualification that is pertinent, your apprenticeship might only last two years instead of four.

To start an RNDA, you’ll normally need level 3 and one or more qualifications in math and English.

Your apprenticeship may be referred to as a “top up” RNDA or “conversion” to a registered nurse course if you have a level 5 certificate as a nursing associate or assistant practitioner.

The NHS Jobs website and the Government provide job openings for RNDA. Find a website for apprenticeships.

Nursing associate

In both health and social care, the position of nursing associate sits alongside currently employed nursing care support personnel and fully licensed registered nurses.

It provides the chance to go to training to become a registered nurse and opens up a profession in nursing to persons from all backgrounds.

Many different health and care settings provide trainee positions. In order to transition between acute, social, community, and primary care, nursing associates now have greater possibilities and freedom.

Although a nursing associate is not a licensed nurse, it is possible to “top up” your training to become one with further education.

Career Progression

Many nurses choose to specialize in a particular area after gaining some experience, such as working in operating rooms or intensive care.

They could potentially pursue extra training to work as a team leader, ward manager, or nursing sister.

Or they could decide to pursue a career as a district nurse, health visitor, midwife, or neonatal nurse.

Become a matron or director of nursing to enter management. People with nursing degrees have access to all of these professions.

If you decide to pursue a postgraduate degree, you could work as an advanced nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist before transitioning to the position of nurse consultant.

Additionally, there are options for careers in teaching and research.

How to Become a Nurse in UK For International Nurses

  1. Ensure You’re a Registered Nurse
  2. High English Language Proficiency
  3. Go for a Job Interview
  4. Nursing and Midwifery Council Self-Assessment (NMC)
  5. Pass Computer Based Test (CBT)
  6. NMC Application Assessment
  7. Submit Documents to Employer
  8. Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)
  9. Visa Application
  10. Flight to the UK
  11. Take the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  12. Receive NMC PIN

Ensure You’re a Registered Nurse

To get this done you must complete either a degree or diploma from a recognized institution, in addition to this, you should have at least 1-year experience practicing nursing, and have received the license to practice.

High English Language Proficiency

Score at least a 6.5 band in writing and at least 7.0 in the remaining cognitive areas in IELTS, or alternatively have a C+ grade in writing and at least a B in the remaining areas in OET.

Go for a Job Interview

When you’ve satisfied the previous steps, the next thing to do is to apply through the National Health Service of the UK to get deployed according to extent of need and availability.

Nursing and Midwifery Council Self-Assessment (NMC)

The NMC assessment tests candidates in the area of health, character, and English language strength. But you will need to undergo a self-assessment test to verify your eligibility to apply for the NMC registration.

Pass Computer Based Test (CBT)

This is a multiple choice test containing about 120 test questions and virtually all nurses in the UK are subjected to this test before they are officially registered.

NMC Application Assessment

This step involves holistic documentation of all your credentials. This is done to ascertain the candidate’s credibility and proficiency in the nursing role. After The NMC receives all the required documents, the documents will be vetted by a member of the registration team.

Submit Documents to Employer

In this step, documents are sent to the employer

Some of these documents include:

  • NHS application form
  • A police check from your home country
  • Proof of address documents
  • References

Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)

This document is a prerequisite to the UK work visa, and you’d need a trust to apply on your behalf. COS stays valid for 3 years after which it can be renewed by the same sponsor. After 5 years of living in the UK, you’d be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Visa Application

Of course, the application for a tier 2 visa that gives room to work in the UK is very important, and for this, you’d be required to pay an application fee for it at the UK embassy in your home country.

Flight to the UK

The very next thing is to buy a ticket from your country to the UK. You’d also need to sort out your accommodation upfront so things like this do not inhibit your progress when you eventually make your way to the UK.

Take the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

This examination makes for the second stage of the NMC registration and can only be completed physically in the UK.

This exam particularly simulates a typical every clinic life such as; patient-to-nurse scenarios. Meanwhile, you really don’t have to fret though, this exam should be a walk-over if you already have clinical experience.

Receive NMC PIN

On completion of the above steps, you will be issued an Identification Number. This Pin is what qualifies you to practice legally in the UK.

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