This guide on how to become a nurse looks at what you need to know, how long it takes, and which subjects you need to consider taking for this career path.
What should I know about becoming a nurse?
When considering whether nursing is the right path for you, it’s vital that you appreciate how challenging, yet massively rewarding, it is as a career. Even once you’ve completed your initial education and training, you’ll continue learning throughout your career and will be required to complete nurse revalidation with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) every three years to show that you’re continually developing and reflecting on your practice.
You’ll gain plenty of job satisfaction through helping others and delivering care to those who need it most, and you’ll be able to see the positive impact that you’re having on the lives of those that you’re caring for.
How long does it take to become a nurse?
Your nursing degree will take three years to complete, and then you may decide to do a Masters course following this, especially if you see yourself taking on a management role. As a student nurse, you’ll learn from both lectures and hands-on experience in your chosen place of study, plus you’ll go on placement to learn in an actual environment too.
Another option you could consider is to complete a Nursing degree apprenticeship. This combines studying at degree level and working to gain experience and usually takes four years to complete. You’ll need to apply directly to employers offering apprenticeships if you choose this route.
What subjects do you need?
If you’re hoping to become a nurse through completing a nursing degree, the universities that you’re looking at will have their own entry requirements which will specify which subjects you need to have at A-level (or equivalent). Usually, they will ask for biology or one of the other sciences. A social science, such as psychology or sociology, can also help depending on the area of nursing that you’d like to work in.
Although the subjects you choose can make a difference, being able to show that you have a passion for care is very important and something that universities will look for regardless of what you study.
What are the steps to becoming a nurse?
Research the different nursing specialisms that you can go into: adult, child, mental health, and learning disabilities
Once you’ve decided which branch you’d like to study, apply to your chosen university through UCAS
On completion of your nursing degree you can register with the NMC – a requirement of all nurses working in the UK
You can then start applying for nursing jobs
Every three years you’ll be required to go through the process of revalidation to maintain your NMC registration. Our Clinical Governance team are on hand to help you with this when the time comes.
Now that you know how to become a nurse, you can start thinking about which area of nursing you might like to go into. Take a look at our mental health nurse, community nurse, and children’s nurse guides, as these will give you an idea of some of the nursing career paths you can choose. You can also find out more in our nurse career guide