How to Start My Nursing Career | learndirect

How to Start My Nursing Career

Posted on 07/09/2020
How to Start My Nursing Career

Nursing is a varied and fulfilling career, supporting members of your community either in a hospital setting, the GP or visiting them in their homes.

As a nurse, you’ll need to be a dedicated and determined individual who is passionate about helping others. You’ll need to display calm and caring traits as well as a broad knowledge of healthcare.

Patients not only depend on you for medical treatments but also as a source of support through challenging times.

To become a fully qualified nurse you’ll have to complete an undergraduate degree in nursing. This is usually completed at university over a 3–4-year period.

An alternative option is a post-graduate degree if you already have an undergraduate degree in a related field.

Nursing apprenticeships are also an option. The apprenticeship combines your studies with practical hands-on experience. You’ll be working full-time whilst completing your qualification.

The main challenge is finding an establishment that is offering these apprenticeships. They’re very competitive and far and few between and funding is often an issue.

Both universities and apprenticeships require you to have qualifications to support your application.

Read on to learn what you’ll need to get you started on a rewarding journey towards your nursing career.


LD | How to Start My Nursing Career | GCSEs

The first step towards a career in nursing would be to gain GCSE qualifications.

Most universities ask for 5 GCSEs to support your application. They’ll be looking for maths, English and biology at grade C/4 or above.

Some universities will accept equivalent qualifications such as Functional Skills Level 2. However, it’s best to check with the admissions office of your desired institute before enrolling.

Level 2 qualifications in maths and English prove you have the basic literacy and numeracy skills required for higher education.

Biology GCSE gives you an insight into human biology which will prepare you for more in-depth studies during further and higher education.

A Levels

A Levels are internationally recognised school-leaver qualifications. They’re usually completed by UK students between the ages of 16 – 18 years old.

Universities will usually look for 2/3 A Levels to support your application to an undergraduate degree.

You would be best choosing an A Level in biology and psychology for a good chance to get into a nursing degree course.

Studying A Level biology will build on the knowledge you’ve gained in GCSE in greater depth. You’ll have an even stronger grasp on human biology and physiology that will prepare you for further studies.

A Level psychology is a social science that compliments health and social care nicely.

Through your Psychology A Level you will develop your analytical and critical thinking skills. As well as gain a deeper understanding of human behaviour and emotions.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

LD | How to Start My Nursing Career | Access to HE Diploma

The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing) is designed for anyone over 18 as an alternate route into university.

Access to HE Diplomas are equivalent to A Level study and could be worth a maximum of 144 UCAS points. That would be equivalent to 3 A’s at A Level.

The course is specifically designed to get the student onto a corresponding degree course.

For example, the Access to HE Diploma in Midwifery for those who wish to become a Midwife or Access to HE Diploma in Education if you’d like to be a Primary School Teacher.

Therefore, the course content is highly relevant and will put you at an excellent starting point for degree-level study.

Access to HE Diplomas are also more cost-effective and time-efficient than taking multiple A Level courses. Instead of taking 2/3 courses, you’ll only need to take the one.

Although the overwhelming majority of universities accept Access to HE Diplomas some do not. So, if you have your heart set on a specific institute then it’s best to check the entry requirements before enrolling on to the Access to HE Diploma.

Studying from home

Studying from home enables you to get back into education without impacting on your other commitments.

You won’t have to rearrange your schedule to attend physical classes. Or miss out on any special events as you’re in control of your learning.

GCSEs and A Levels must be regulated by Ofqual regardless of who provides them. Access to HE Diplomas are regulated by QAA. This means you’ll receive the same qualification from an online learning provider as you would at a physical college.

So, you’re able to relax and enjoy your learning at a pace and place that suits you. The only date you’ll have to work towards are your exams if you decide to take GCSEs or A Levels. These exams can be taken at a test centre near you or virtually and are usually in May/June.

Online courses will be guided by an experienced tutor who will provide you with constructive feedback. As well as any extra assistance if needed.

By being able to engage with your learning in a way that works for you, means you’re more likely to enjoy studying. You have a maximum completion time of two years, but you can complete your course in as little as 6 months. It’s up to you.

Simply enrol online and begin learning whenever works best.


Whatever direction you decide to go in learndirect could have the course to help you into a fulfilling career in nursing.

learndirect is one of the UK’s leading online learning providers. We offer a range of courses from A Levels to Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

Our courses are guided by expert tutors that provide constructive feedback and assistance when needed. We also have flexible payment options to help you spread the cost.

To learn more about how to prepare for your online learning experience read our blog here.

If you’re ready to get started contact a member of our sales to enrol now or browse our courses below.


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