5 Reasons to Become a Nurse in the UK
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare staff have become more important than ever before.
With the recent news that over 50,000 people have lost their lives to the illness, the United Kingdom has become the first country in Europe to pass this high death rate. The 2020 pandemic saw nation-wide support for health workers alongside rapidly increased awareness of the importance of the health service. As case numbers rise to record levels, hospitals and care homes are in urgent need of skilled professionals to support with medical and personal care.
Here are five reasons to start your UK nursing career.
5 Benefits of Working as a Nurse in the UK
- The NHS = High Quality Healthcare
The United Kingdom’s healthcare service is universal, and amongst countries with wealthier economies, the UK is one of the very few that offer free doctor consultations. Now over 70 years old, the National Health Service (NHS) is considered by over two-thirds of British people to be Britain’s greatest achievement.
Currently spanning over 1,200 hospitals, the NHS has helped increase life expectancy by over a decade, dramatically reduce deaths from strokes and heart disease through preventive medication, and reduce infant mortality rates by over 80%. Despite the miniscule size of Britain and very high population density compared with other countries globally, the NHS was ranked as the 6th best healthcare system in the world in 2020.
- Nursing Shortage = Variety of Opportunities
The NHS has long struggled with a shortage of skilled staff, which has been growing alongside the size of the British population. In a 2020 Staffing Survey, only 28% of respondents across the country felt that there were enough staff at their workplace for them to do their job. The Health Foundation, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust have projected that on current trends, the NHS will have a shortfall of 108,000 full-time equivalent nurses by 2030, partly due to the one in three nursing staff expected to retire in the next decade.
The shortage presents a positive opportunity for jobseekers: there are currently over 40,000 nursing vacancies in health and care settings in England alone. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called for significant investment plans to expand the workforce, which include:
- Additional funding for higher education programmes
- Maintenance grants for University students
- Keeping all medical professionals on the Shortage Occupation List to aid migration of skilled healthcare workers from other countries.
The RCN has committed to rapidly increasing their workforce by 50,000 by 2025 across hospitals, care homes and all healthcare settings, meaning a variety of options available for applicants interested in moving to the UK. As the UK’s most employable type of degree, 94% of nursing students find a job within six months of finishing their course.
Prospero Health & Social Care specialise in matching qualified health professionals to new roles – find your next nursing job.
- Different Entry Routes
Although nursing courses will require a University degree, the Academic entry requirements will vary across different Universities, and there are many routes to acquiring the qualification:
- Full-time vs Part-time Degree – Students can decide to study alongside working or other responsibilities
- Online Degrees – From January 2021, some Universities will offering adult nursing courses with theoretical content mainly delivered online, increasing accessibility for parents, carers and those with disabilities and other needs
- Apprenticeship – Degree apprenticeships combine theoretical study with practical training in a healthcare placement setting
- Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning – APEL) – Those who have already completed a degree in a relevant subject can often complete their qualification in two years.
- Financial Support
Newly-qualified nurses start their career on a minimum of £24K a year and receive a generous pension scheme. NHS workers also enjoy a vast range of discounts and priority service on transport, accommodation, supermarket shopping, restaurants and children’s education, activities and tutoring.
Financial support is available for all studying to become a nurse. Undergraduate and postgraduate students will have access to loans of at least £5,000 and up to £8,000 per year, which does not need to be repaid. Apprentices can be funded entirely by their employers.
Additional funding includes £2,000 per year towards childcare for students who are also parents, and help with travel and accommodation costs. Specialist subject payments of £1,000 per year are available in subjects such as mental health and learning disability nursing, and regional incentive payments of £1,000 are available for those originating from regions with lower take-up.
- Constant Learning
All NHs staff receive an annual personal development review and a tailored plan to support their professional goals. All staff have access to a range of training courses to ensure each individual employee practices medicine and care as safely and effectively as possible, whilst helping each employee fulfil their own potential.
The high standards of the NHS are continually maintained through training, development and support throughout each career path. The RNC, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and many medical bodies require all registered healthcare professionals to regularly ‘revalidate’ or prove their skills and competences. Revalidation requirements will include several hundred hours of practicing in a healthcare role and completing a number of hours on Continuous Professional Development (CPD courses).
Nursing CPDs provide up-to-date training on a variety of mandatory and optional subjects including:
- Conflict Management
- Drug Administration
- Documentation & Record Keeping
- Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
- First Aid for Mental Health
- Immunisation & Vaccination
- Infection Control
- Life Support
- Medication Management.
As an experienced recruitment agency supporting private and public healthcare workers, Prospero Health & Social Care offer a range of free CPD courses including safeguarding and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
- Explore the UK and Europe
The UK’s extensive history incorporates a place on the global stage during the industrial revolution, the legendary royal family, hundreds of years or Government and social reform and the world-famous Queen and royal family.
Britain’s increasingly multicultural society includes millions of people who originate from other countries and continents, collectively speaking over 300 languages in London alone. The influence of dozens of different countries across continents can be felt across Britain’s architecture, museums, art, landscapes and cultural events. Working in the UK means experiencing a vast array of traditions, customs, festivals and food every day, and meeting and building connections with a diverse range of people from all over the world.
A nursing degree provides the ability to work anywhere, meaning qualified healthcare workers can travel and work around England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and neighbouring countries. Large British cities have some of the best travel connections in Europe, and destinations such as Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and Brussels are just a two-hour flight away.
- Range of Specialisms
The NHS offers 350 different career paths, providing exciting and rewarding career paths for individuals of all backgrounds, skills and experiences.
All registered nurses choose from one of four specialisms:
- Adults – Working with patients over the age of 18 with the ability to specialise in areas such as oncology (cancer care), accident and emergency (A&E) or critical care
- Children – Working with children, young people and their parents across children’s hospitals, baby care units and adolescent units. Qualifying in this area could mean specialising in schools, safeguarding, intensive care or health visiting
- Mental Health – Working collaboratively with patients, families and other healthcare professionals, these workers can specialise in rehabilitation, substance misuse or child and adolescent mental health
- Learning Disabilities – Helping those with a range of abilities live well and independently, with the ability to specialise in areas such as epilepsy management and sensory impairment.
Workplaces are also as varied as medical specialisms. Qualified staff can work in hospitals, community health centres, prisons and offender units, supported accommodation, care homes and the homes of their patients.
Find Your Next Nursing Job
Browse and apply for all our healthcare vacancies.