Nursing is a profession that draws people in at any stage of life. Despite the years of study required, it’s not uncommon for people to retrain despite already having an established career. If you’re unfamiliar with nursing, the attraction may not be immediately clear. But there are many reasons why people want to become nurses.
Nursing is as much of a calling as it is a profession. People can feel drawn to it because they have an innate need to care for others. Or because at some point they’ve witnessed the difference care can make to people’s lives.
It’s undoubtedly a challenging profession, whether you work in mental health, paediatrics, disability nursing or the ICU. You’ll witness many difficult situations where people are facing challenges with their health in some way. Often life threateningly so. But you’re also positioned to help them recover by providing compassionate care and support.
In 2020 around 669,6000 nurses were employed in the UK. This number is rising but so is the need for qualified nurses. If you’re considering nursing as a career, find out more about the reasons you may enjoy the profession below. And how you can get qualified to make the career switch.
Nurses Make a Difference
Many people who go into nursing do so because they’ve been inspired by other nurses they’ve known in their lives. It’s not uncommon to find multiple people from the same family in the profession. As they’ve seen how the work their family member does benefits others.
In other cases, people who have received care themselves develop the desire to help others in the same way. Whether it was giving birth, recovering from an injury or an illness. The help they received when they were vulnerable spurs them on to be that pillar of support for others in need.
As a nurse, you can reassure children who are scared of the unfamiliar surroundings they’re in while receiving treatment. You can help patients come to terms with their mental health conditions and teach them ways to manage them. Or support patients who have experienced life-altering injuries as they adjust to life post treatment.
Nurses do far more than administer medicine and treat wounds. Whatever the patient’s ailment, you’ll be on hand to provide the support they need to improve their outcomes.
Work in a Specialism Close to your Interests
Oftentimes, people become passionate about areas of health that have affected themselves or a loved one in some way. For instance, many mental health nurses have a friend or relative who’ve experienced poor mental health. Or they themselves are working through some form of mental health issue.
The diversity of the nursing field enables you to align yourself with an area that speaks to you. So whether your interests lie in mental health, caring for children, adults, people with disabilities or those requiring acute care, you can find a role to suit.
Generally, nursing degrees are broken down into:
- Adult Nursing
- Child Nursing
- Learning Disability Nursing
- Mental Health Nursing
Then, after gaining your degree, you can complete additional placements and training in a graduate nursing role. To help you work in the department that deals with the care provision that means the most to you.
It’s Active and Exciting Work
If you couldn’t imagine anything worse than a desk job, you’re in luck. Nursing is the furthest thing from it. Healthcare wards are fast-paced with many patients often requiring round the clock attention.
This means nurses have to juggle multiple patients at once. So you need to be up and on your feet most of the day. This is a highly attractive prospect for anyone wanting a career that keeps them engaged and active.
It’s also extremely sociable work, as you get to meet people from all walks of life. You’ll also be working with a skilled variety of healthcare professionals, which helps broaden your insights and knowledge every day.
No two days are the same and the work is constantly challenging. The patients you deal with may need remedies to be administered quickly if their condition is severe or deteriorates. As such, you need to think on your feet and respond effectively in emergency situations. Which, though challenging, develop your critical thinking abilities and provide an enormous sense of fulfilment when the situation is rectified.
Depending on the facility you’re employed in you can establish a work pattern that fits in well with your lifestyle. Enabling you to embrace a fulfilling career that also caters to your family life or other existing commitments.
If you’re looking for hours more along the 9-5, you could find work in a clinic or a physician’s office. Otherwise, there are plenty of opportunities for shift work to create space at different points in your day.
Many facilities operate into the night or 24/7. So you can opt for evening shifts if you’re not a morning person. Or if you have other things to do earlier in the day. You could also work longer hours over fewer days to give yourself a larger chunk of time off. Giving you more quality time with loved ones or the ability to fit more into your downtime.
Study Nursing through an Access to HE Diploma
If you think nursing is a profession that you want to pursue, there are various steps you need to complete. You’ll need to complete at least 3-4 years of degree level learning. But first you need to meet the entry requirements for university.
Traditionally this requires you to have:
- 5 GCSEs - including maths and English - at grades A-C. Biology can often be requested as one of the five.
- 2 A Levels minimum that relate to nursing.
Now, there are alternate qualifications you can take in place of the above. If you don’t have maths or English GCSEs, you can study their Functional Skills equivalents online. You can also study an Access to HE Diploma (Nursing) if you don’t have A Levels, or the ones required.
An Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing) will equip you effectively for all nursing degrees. It covers many essential topics for the profession such as cell biology and human diseases and prevention. As well as the roles & responsibilities of the registered nurse.
The targeted education you receive removes the need for multiple A Levels. Allowing you to progress to university after taking just one course. Which can be completed online at a pace that suits you.
Once you’re ready for university, you need to study a nursing degree that is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Only these degrees enable you to gain registration as a nurse and start your career in care.
learndirect is the leading UK distance learning provider, with many online courses to help you reach your career goals.
Our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing) is studied entirely online. So you can gain your pre-university education without disrupting your current job or requiring you to arrange childcare.
You’ll also benefit from dedicated tutor support when required and flexible payments to spread the cost of your learning.
Find out more about kickstarting your career as a nurse through our Access to HE Diploma below.