Being a nurse in any part of the world is important to provide people with support and medical treatment. And with the need for nurses to fill vacancies across the globe, the world really is yours to explore. So, if you’re considering being a nurse in another country, you may be wondering what the benefits are of a nursing career in the UK.
Nurses in the UK, if they don’t work in private healthcare facilities, generally work for the National Health Service (NHS). This is a publicly funded health care service. And it’s the largest employer in the UK with over 620,000 nurses on its books.
That being said, they still have over 43,000 vacant positions that need filling across the entire nursing spectrum. So, no matter if you’re aligning yourself with adult, child, mental health, theatre, special educational needs or ICU nursing, you can reap the benefits of one of these vacancies.
From student bursaries to career progression opportunities, relocation packages and more. Find out the many benefits you can receive from a nursing career in the UK below.
One of the main benefits of a nursing career in the NHS is almost guaranteed job security. As people’s lifespan increases, their need for healthcare services increases. So, more nurses are required to support and provide assistance to people requiring all types of treatment.
The scope of healthcare treatment provided is also increasing. Mental health services, for instance, are expanding as we learn how to support people experiencing mental health issues better. And with every new healthcare service, more nurses are required to help them run effectively.
In addition to this, more nurses are retiring each year than there are new nurses to replace them. Which is a huge reason why the NHS are so dependent on international recruitment. As there simply aren’t enough nurses in the UK to meet the demand.
Many Career Options
Nursing in the UK opens you up to the potential of progression in many avenues of healthcare. Once qualified, you can take advantage of workplace training, CPD, further studies and placements in other areas of healthcare. All of which can enable you to gain new experiences, learn new skills and define your own career path. Something which isn’t offered in every country.
You could try your hand working in various settings like clinics, hospitals, nursing homes or outpatient healthcare settings. Broadening your knowledge and working with new patient groups. You could also pursue various specialisms such as ICU or acute care, anaesthetics, neonatal, orthopaedics, fertility or theatre nursing.
Once you find an area you’re particularly interested in, you can continue to develop your expertise in that area. Alternatively, there are ample opportunities within senior positions. From management roles to becoming an advanced practitioner or a consultant nurse.
Another excellent benefit of nursing in the UK is that most employers offer flexible working hours. Depending on your schedule, you can opt for part or full-time roles, job sharing opportunities and positions offering flexi-time.
If you prefer working nights or shifts that fall outside of the regular 9-5 schedule, hospitals would be the ideal environment to work in. Hospitals require nurses to be on hand 24 hours a day, so you’re more than likely to find a shift pattern that suits your daily routine.
This flexible approach to working enables you to spend more time with your family. You can also continue your hobbies, have time to study or upskill and keep to any other existing commitments.
If you’ve not yet begun studying a nursing degree, there are certainly benefits to doing this in the UK. Currently, each nursing student can access a minimum of £5,000 a year maintenance grant while they complete their degree. This is otherwise known as a bursary.
There is also scope for you to access an additional £1,000 if you’re planning to work in areas with particular shortages. Such as within mental health nursing.
Should you have children, another £2,000 is on offer in childcare allowances.
All students receiving the maintenance grant aren’t required to pay it back. You can find out more on the NHS Student Bursaries website.
International nurses can benefit from a relocation package that further facilitates their move into a nursing career in the UK. Certain recruitment agencies can help you get interviews for NHS roles within trusts that provide these packages to overseas candidates.
These packages can cover the cost of your flights and your accommodation for the first few weeks. They can also help you with visa costs, English exam fees, training courses and the cost of your Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE). This exam assesses your nursing knowledge, skills and competence.
Take your Qualification Anywhere
Training to be a nurse in the UK doesn’t just limit you to UK nursing opportunities. UK nursing qualifications are recognised in many countries all over the world. And many overseas healthcare services employ English speaking nurses to help with international patients.
So, once you’ve gained experience in the UK, you could continue your learning journey in other countries. Allowing you to explore the world while making a difference as a nurse and earning a wage.
Start a Nursing Career
If you’re thinking of studying nursing in the UK, you’ll have to complete an undergraduate degree in nursing. This has to be approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and they usually run over a 3–4 year period.
If you already have an undergraduate degree in a related field, you could study a post-graduate degree as an alternative. Nursing apprenticeships which combine theoretical studies with practical hands-on experience are also available.
Whichever you choose, you’ll need to meet the entry requirements for your degree. Which can be different in every university.
Traditionally, GCSEs and A Levels were the only way to secure a place in a higher education establishment. You’d need:
- 5 GCSEs, including maths and English, at grades A-C. Sometimes biology would also be requested
- 2 traditional A Levels relevant to nursing
However, now universities are more accepting of a broader range of qualifications. Functional Skills are a popular alternative to GCSE qualifications and an Access to HE Diploma (Nursing) replaces multiple A Levels.
By choosing to complete an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing) you’ll have an ideal starting point for any nursing degree. It teaches you many essential topics for nursing from cell biology to the roles & responsibilities of the registered nurse.
What’s more, you’re able to study this course online at your own pace. So, you can prepare for your new nursing career comfortably alongside your other responsibilities.
Studying with learndirect also means you’ll receive professional tutor support and the option to spread the cost of your learning over a longer period of time.
Find out more about how you can get started towards a nursing career in the UK by viewing our Access to HE Diploma (Nursing) below.