Nurses, much like doctors, must be a fount of all medical knowledge. This is because they are required to triage patients, administer treatments, perform low-level procedures, carry out tests and provide general care, all of which requires considerable training and scientific comprehension to understand.
Nurses make up the largest portion of our healthcare system and carry out a range of different tasks in the course of their duties. As such, being a Nurse is a demanding but rewarding role. Your day is filled with constant challenges, but you significantly benefit other people’s lives by caring for those who are sick, recovering from injury or experiencing mental health issues.
According to official figures, the NHS is short roughly 40,000 nurses. This obviously presents hospitals and other health departments with something of a crisis when it comes to providing adequate care. However, for those considering how to become a Nurse, there has never been a better time to qualify.
Of course, you will still have to get a degree in nursing, and many of the degree entry requirements will look for learners with Science A Levels. Though, all is not lost if you don’t have a Science background.
How to Become a Nurse in UK
To be a Nurse, you need to complete an undergraduate degree in nursing. This is non-negotiable purely because you need to know how to care for patients safely.
As with any course, you need to meet the minimum entry requirements. Universities have the power to specify their own, but you are likely to need at least two (usually three) A Levels. Nursing degree courses often specify their preferred or essential A Level or equivalent subjects. This normally includes one Science which is usually Biology, though a social science like Sociology or Psychology can also be desired.
You’ll also need supporting GCSEs including English, Maths and a Science (again this is usually Biology or Human Biology), though it is best to check with your chosen universities to confirm what they are looking for.
To make things clear, you don’t need to be a Scientist to be a Nurse. A good understanding of Biology is a bonus but it’s not always essential to get on to nursing courses. Your nursing degree will cover human Biology extensively, so you can start gaining that knowledge in detail once you get started on that level of study.
In the meantime, there are ways to get around not having Science A Levels. There may also be some flexibility if you have relevant work or voluntary experience and/or qualifications in other related fields.
Alternative Routes to a Nursing Degree
Some universities offer a foundation year for those looking into how to become a Nurse without the necessary entry qualifications.
Foundation courses allow you to start university straight away but adds a full year to your studies, and an extra year of tuition fees too. This can make an already expensive process prohibitive. You also may not be ready to start studying university from a financial, familial or employment perspective.
If you don’t have the relevant Level 3 Science qualifications but you don’t feel a foundation year is right for you then you’ll need to explore other routes to a nursing degree. One of the most popular being an Access to Nursing Course. This and other alternate routes are discussed below:
Access to Higher Education Nursing
The Access to Higher Education Diploma in Nursing prepares students for study as an undergraduate in nursing at university. The Access course for nursing is designed for anyone who wants to study a nursing degree but lacks the relevant qualifications.
They are recognised by almost all universities in the UK. So, if you don’t have an A Level in Biology or another Science, the Access to HE Diplomas will provide you with a sufficient Level 3 alternative to A Levels. So, with this and the relevant GCSEs, you can go on to study a nursing degree.
The Access to HE Nursing Diploma focuses specifically on teaching you everything you need to know ahead of studying your degree, including the required scientific knowledge. During your studies, you will learn about:
- Cell Biology
- Human nutrition
- The digestive system
- Growth and development
- The human musculoskeletal system
- Approaches to health
- Human disease and prevention
- The nervous system
You will also get an introduction to Psychology, social factors in healthcare, inequalities in health and illness, poverty and health and equality and diversity within healthcare.
If you have already completed a degree in a related subject, then you may be eligible for a post-graduate diploma in nursing. The related subject could be a BSc or a BA.
The diploma takes 2 years to complete but at the end of the course you will be a qualified, registered Nurse.
Returning to Practice
Any nurses wishing to return to practice may do so, but they are required to take a refresher course. Depending on how long it has been since you last practised, this could take between 3 and 12 months.
Nursing Degree Apprenticeships
Nursing degree apprenticeships offer a flexible route into nursing. These courses take 4 years to complete and require you to complete a nursing degree while learning on the job.
You will still need at least a Level 3 qualification as you will be studying at degree level. So, if you lack A Level qualifications (or their equivalent) then an Access to HE Nursing is your best bet.
Study Access to Nursing Courses with Stonebridge
Stonebridge Associated Colleges can help you study a nursing degree without a scientific background. What’s more, they are completed online for the utmost flexibility.
This means those looking at how to become a Nurse in UK can do so conveniently around their existing commitments. If you want to achieve your learning goals on your terms, all you need to do is talk to our Course Executives today. They can run you through the modules you will cover, the level of tutor support you will receive, and the payment options you can take advantage of.