If you aspire to be a nurse, there is never a wrong time to commit to making that a reality. You can become a nurse at any age. There is no time like the present, especially to achieve your goals. If you keep putting it off, you’re just missing out on time that could be spent working in the career that you want to.
Nursing is a career with so many fields to specialise in, so there is a real opportunity to explore the role and find your niche.
Whilst your age may feel like a barrier, it could most definitely go in your favour. Studies suggest that older students not only perform better than their younger peers but help them perform better too.
Your years of experience and hard work also provide you with a perspective and a level of understanding that younger students and nurses simply can’t have. Just because they haven’t lived their lives yet.
This also helps you to be a better carer as you’ll be able to empathise with your patients far more than younger team members.
There is no upper age limit for becoming a nurse. In 2020, around 669,000 nurses were employed in the UK. This number is on the rise, along with the need for qualified nurses. If you’re considering nursing as a career, find out more about the reasons that it is never too late to switch your career. Out of these 669,000 nurses that were employed, 24.9% of them were aged 30 and above.
Your Age can be favourable to Employers
Your maturity could be seen as a great asset to employers. You’re more likely to handle high pressured situations better, since you have a lot more life experience to draw from. Which can also benefit your decision making and management skills.
In the patient’s eyes, age and seniority are often associated together. As a nurse, you’ll be more likely to make patients feel less anxious, being able to gain their trust. Perhaps quicker than a younger nurse would.
Also, good communication skills are required in almost every job. You would be able to reflect on your prior work experience to build a rapport with patients and put them at ease.
Coming into the profession at a more mature age can also be a sign of security for employers. As we get older, we tend to value stability more. Older team members usually stay in roles longer, enabling employers to look at you as a safe hire.
Within nursing, there is generally a lot of room for progression and the opportunity to take on more responsibilities. The fact that you have been brave enough to turn your career goal into a reality would prove to employers that you would be a motivated member of the team.
How can you start your Career in Nursing?
As with most roles within healthcare, a certain level of education is required. All fields of nursing require extensive education and training.
The most common route into nursing is via an undergraduate degree. This is usually completed at university over a three to four-year period. An alternative option is a post-graduate degree if you already have an undergraduate degree in a related subject.
Although few and far between, a nursing apprenticeship is also an option. The apprenticeship combines your practical experience with your study. You would be working full time whilst completing your qualification.
All of these routes into nursing require you to meet their entry requirements.
The first step towards a career in nursing would be your GCSEs. Most universities ask for 5 GCSEs, to support your application. They’ll be looking for maths, English, and biology at grade 4 (grade C) or above.
Some universities would accept equivalent qualifications such as Functional Skills. However, it is always best to double-check with your desired institute.
Universities will usually request two to three A Levels in related subjects to nursing. The most typically sought-after A-Level with a nursing application is Biology.
There is also the option of equivalent to A Levels.
Equivalent qualifications to A Level include a BTEC, HND or HNC, a relevant NVQ or an Access to Higher Education Diploma. Scottish and Irish applicants will need to hold their nationally recognised equivalent.
An Access to Higher Education Diploma is a popular route for anyone aged 18 or over, who do not hold A Levels. With A Levels, you would be juggling two to three courses at one time, this is only one course to gain your entry requirements. Depending on your final grade, your Access to Higher Education Diploma could be worth between 48 and 144 UCAS tariff points. This is the standard equivalent to 3 A Levels.
If you already hold a degree, you may be eligible to complete a postgraduate nursing degree instead of a full undergraduate nursing degree. Assuming that your degree is in a relevant or similar field to nursing.
An Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing) is a perfect way to meet entry requirements. What’s more, an Access to HE Diploma offers you study entirely online, allowing you to qualify without having to sacrifice your current commitments.
As a more mature applicant, it is likely that you already have an established schedule. This may be childcare, work or hobbies. An online course gives you the option to study from the comfort of your own home, giving you the flexibility to participate in your studies whenever it suits you. You wouldn’t have to rearrange your schedule to attend classes. Or miss out on any special events, as you’re in control of your own learning hours.
What’s more, all of the learning material is available to you as soon as you enrol, unlike a physical college where you would need to wait for the term to begin.
This will allow you to make your goal of becoming a nurse a reality. Perhaps a lot sooner than you originally thought by studying online.
learndirect is UK’s leading online learning provider. Offering a wide range of courses from GCSE’s A Levels and Access to Higher Education Diplomas.