Nurses provide direct care to patients and work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, GP practices and in the community.

There are four main fields of nursing:

  • Adult
  • Children’s
  • Mental Health
  • Learning Disability.

If you’re interested in a career in nursing, there are several pathways available to you.

Nursing degree

You could enrol on a Registered Nurse degree course at a university. The HealthCareers website outlines the benefits of having a Nursing degree.

First you would need to decide which field of Nursing you would like to qualify in. University courses in the four different fields of Nursing can be found using the HealthCareers Course Finder. Dual courses are available if you would like to qualify in more than one field.

From 2021, some universities are offering Adult Nursing courses using a blended learning approach, where much of the content is delivered online. These courses can be found using the HealthCareers Course Finder.

Nursing apprenticeship

If you would prefer not to study full-time, a Level 6 Registered Nurse degree apprenticeship is a flexible, work-based route into Nursing which combines university study and paid work placements.

This apprenticeship usually takes 4 years to complete, however if you already have a relevant Level 5 qualification (such as a Nursing Associate or Assistant Practitioner) you may only need to complete a 2-year ‘top up’ or ‘conversion’ apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship opportunities can be found on NHS Jobs or on the UK Government website.

Nursing associate

The Nursing Associate (NA) role is a relatively new role which bridges the gap between Healthcare Support Workers and Registered Nurses.

Nursing Associates work across all four fields of nursing.

One you have enough experience as a Nursing Associate you may be able to complete a shortened Registered Nurse degree apprenticeship in 2 years.

More information on how to become a Nursing Associate is available on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s website.

For more information about the different careers and routes into Nursing, visit the HealthCareers website and the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s website.