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How to become a nurse

2nd February 23

Nursing is rewarding on many levels, both professionally and personally. Every day you have an opportunity to change someone’s life for the better, while also achieving career progression and working to a flexible schedule. To secure this role, you need to know how to become a Nurse. We can help.

student nurses in classroom learning on laptop

How to Get a Nursing Degree

Studying for a nursing degree will give you the adequate training you need to embark on a career in the healthcare sector. Firstly, you need to decide what nursing field you want to study and work in. Before even considering how to become a Nurse, UK learners need to be aware of the four main areas of nursing.

Adult nursing involves looking after adult patients of varying ages and who have varying conditions. If you want to work in this field of nursing, then you will be providing care to patients with either long-term health conditions or short-term ones. Your role will involve assessing the needs of each patient and then planning the appropriate care.

One of the most important things to think about when considering how to become Nurse material is whether you can handle the personable side of the role. For example, as an Adult Nurse, you will need to build trust with patients and have a friendly bedside manner. You will also interact with patients’ families and carers for those who have them.

You may also want to consider children’s nursing when wondering how to become a Nurse. You will be providing care and treatment to children only, ranging from newborns to teenagers. Like adult nursing, you could be looking after patients with different types of healthcare problems, either short or long-term.

Perhaps you would prefer to go down the route of learning disability nursing. In this field, your primary objective will be to support patients with learning disabilities, helping them to live fulfilled lives with independence.

Alternatively, if you want to help those struggling with their mental health, then you can train to become a Mental Health Nurse. This involves you working with individuals on managing their condition through certain therapies or medication.

Once you have decided on the field of nursing that you would like to pursue, you can start thinking about how to become a Nurse. The next stage is to choose your degree. It’s important to note that some degree courses focus on just one of the fields, while others are dual-field degrees that allow you to study two areas of nursing.

two nurses smiling and looking at laptop

Entry Requirements

A nursing degree is the best avenue to take when it comes to the criteria on how to become a Nurse. According to the NHS, 94% of students get a job within six months of completing their degree. So, when it comes to working as a Nurse, having a degree is a top requirement.

To get to this stage, you need to meet certain criteria to enrol on your degree course. You should be aware that when considering how to become a Nurse, the entry requirements vary depending on the university as all higher education establishments set their own entry requirements.

Generally, though, you are likely to need the following:

  • GCSE grades C/4 or above in English, Maths, and a Science subject, usually Biology or Human Biology
  • At least two A Levels or a Level 3 equivalent qualification, such as an Access to Higher Education Diploma

Please note that some universities may specify what subjects they want you to have grades in.

Where to Study Nursing

Many universities offer nursing programmes, but if you are starting from scratch and wondering how to become a Nurse, then you need to consider the path prior to university. You’re probably asking yourself ‘what courses do I need to become a registered Nurse?’ Well, as mentioned above, to get on to a degree, you need A Levels or a Level 3 equivalent.

learndirect provides the Level 3 equivalent for those of you who don’t have the A Levels to get on to your nursing degree. By enrolling on our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing), you will learn the fundamentals of nursing, how to become a Nurse, as well as how to prepare for university. This vocational course is not only a pathway to higher education, but it is also delivered in a way that enables a flexible learning lifestyle. For example, once you enrol, you will:

  • Study 100% online, allowing you to learn in the comfort of your own home
  • Not be dictated by classrooms – all your resources and assignments will be via your own personalised online platform
  • Not have to take an exam – your success is not dependent on the result of an exam, instead, you will be assessed through a variety of assignments
  • Have the option to choose from a range of payment plans that suit your circumstances

You will get an Individual Learning Plan that outlines your submission deadlines and helps you stay on track throughout your course.

How to Apply

Once you have successfully completed your Access to Higher Education Diploma, you will be able to use this qualification to meet entry requirements. To get into your chosen university and learn more about how to become a Nurse, you will need to apply through UCAS.

Our team at learndirect can help you with your application to give you the best possible chance of getting onto a nursing degree. If you are looking for part-time nursing courses and wondering how to become a Nurse on a part-time basis, it’s best to contact universities directly to learn more about their processes when it comes to applications.

nurse holding chalkboard reading nursing

What You Need to Know About Your Application

There are deadlines that you need to be aware of when it comes to UCAS applications. To secure a place at university for the following year, then your application will need to be submitted by October of the existing year. For example, students would have had to submit their UCAS application by 15th October 2022 to get a university place in 2023.

There is also a January deadline that you need to be mindful of when considering how to become a Nurse. For example, those who submit their applications by 25th January 2023 could still get a place with the class of 2023. However, it is important to note that the deadlines are dependent on the course and university you are applying to, so make sure you double-check with the institution.

When it comes to the application itself, there are some key elements that you need to be mindful of. The admissions team will be looking for specific criteria, including:


  • Qualifications
  • A personal statement that showcases your passion for the subject you want to study, as well as the skills you have that will help you succeed at university
  • A positive attitude to developing both academically and personally
  • Strong writing ability
  • Knowledge of the subject area you want to study
  • Reference

Please note that this criterion is subject to change.

What Happens After Nurse Training?

When considering how to become a Nurse, UK hopefuls need to understand the process once they have completed their training. Firstly, you need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) before you can apply for a job. You should also keep in mind that you’ll need to work in a more general role before you specialise in a certain area. Also, you may need to study additional qualifications to secure a specialist position.

Whichever area of nursing you want to embark on, whether that is as a Nurse Practitioner or a Registered Nurse, then you can take your first step towards it by enrolling on our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing). Read more about the details here or reach out to one of our Course Specialists on 01202 006 464. You can also learn more about the perks of becoming a Nurse by checking out our top 5 reasons to pursue this career!

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How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Nurse?

One of the most common questions asked when considering how to become a Nurse is how long does it take to become a Nurse? UK residents should know that a full-time nursing degree tends to last for three years, or longer if you opt to study the degree part-time. It could take four years if you enrol on a dual-field degree.

Why Become a Nurse UK?

Before wondering how to become Nurse-ready, you need to consider why you want to do it. Many people choose nursing due to the variety it brings, as well as the thrill of the challenge! The main reason, though, is the opportunity to help someone and make a difference to their health and their lives.

How Hard is it to Become a Nurse?

Like any degree, there will be challenges, but the training you receive will get you job ready. In fact, nursing is the UK’s most employable type of degree, so you won’t have to wait long until you’re working in your chosen field.

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