NURSING: THE NUMBERS
Number of nurses working in the UK: 518,389
(Source: ONS June 2007)
Being a nurse and working in the healthcare services can be extremely rewarding; there aren’t many other jobs where you save lives and restore people to health on a daily basis. However, the sense of satisfaction nurses derive from seeing patients leaving their care feeling better, is often dampened by seeing others who don’t make it. Nurses also work long hours and shifts, which can be disruptive and incredibly draining. However, if you think you’ve got the guts, determination and also the required sense of duty and responsibility, this is a career that can be very rewarding.According to the Royal College of Nursing nurses should be non-judgmental, be good listeners and communicators, and should empathise with people and provide support. A survey in Nursing Standard magazine found 94 per cent of nurses are proud of what they do and would recommend the nursing profession to other people.
Once qualified nurses are able to choose from a great variety of different careers and can specialise in many distinct areas. The four main branches are adult nursing, children’s nursing, mental health and learning disability, and you could find yourself working within a hospital maternity ward, in a prison, within a private clinic or even treating people with tropical diseases. For those with a taste for something different, what about working at a military base or on a ship for the Army, Navy or Air Force? The NHS is still the largest organisation in Europe. It is also the biggest employer in the UK, employing about 1.3 million people in England (about 5% of the population), and of these 633,000 are professionally qualified clinical staff. However, you could also opt to work in the growing private sector.
Having a degree is a great stepping stone into the nursing profession. People with degrees in health or biological sciences can take a two-year postgraduate diploma to qualify as a nurse, while all diploma and degree students in the UK are eligible for funding to cover tuition fees. Extra money is also available in the form of a means-tested bursary.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to do this demanding yet very satisfying job, read our case studies to see what being a nurse really entails.
Bursaries for degree students
Applicants accepted on to an NHS funded Degree course in Nursing or Midwifery, would be eligible for an NHS means-tested bursary.
A means-tested bursary means that your income, or that of your spouse/parents will be taken into account, and the amount of the grant will be reduced in proportion of that income. Those claiming an NHS means-tested bursary may also be entitled to apply for a Student Loan through their Local Education Authority (LEA).
Visit the following NHS websites for more information.
For specific information about particular jobs email firstname.lastname@example.org
ROYAL COLLEGE OF NURSING
20 Cavendish Road, London W1m 0AB
Telephone 0207 312 3333