Applying for Nurse & Midwifery Courses
Nursing and midwifery courses are widely available across the UK and Eire but if you are interested in becoming a nurse or a midwife it can be a little confusing.
To practice as a nurse or a midwife in the UK, including, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland you have to be registered on the Professional Register. In England and Wales this is maintained by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). Therefore the course that you choose to do will need to be accredited by the NMC. These courses are known as pre-registration courses and will lead to registration on successful completion of the course as well as an academic and professional qualification. They aim to equip you with the knowledge, skills and scientific and research skills that will are required to be a good nurse or midwife.
Pre-registration courses are run at higher education colleges and universities and your course may last up to four years, depending on the course that you choose. Both the DipHE (3 years) and the Degree (4 years) lead to the same level of registration with the NMC and in all courses the first year is a Common Foundation Programme. This 1st year provides you with an introduction to nursing and the skills that you will require wherever you decide to specialise. From the second year onwards you will follow your specialist programme and you will spend at least 50% of your time practising your nursing skills in real situations and this time will be combined with clinical theory, social and natural sciences.
You can choose to specialise in 1 of four areas:
· Adult Nursing
You will be taught the knowledge and skills to nurse individuals over the age of 16 who have long or short term illnesses, either in hospitals or in the community.
· Children’s Nursing (Paediatric Nursing)
This branch of nursing covers the development and care of health and sick children and adolescents under the age of 16 who require advice or short- and long-term care.
· Mental Health Nursing
You will be taught the skills and knowledge required to care and nurse people with mental illnesses.
Midwifery is not a part of the DipHE or Degree level pre-registration courses. You need to undertake the pre-registration DipHE or degree midwifery course. Midwifery is essentially the nursing of the mother, family and new baby before and after its birth.
The Application Process
NMAS, the Nusrsing and Midwifery Admissions Service no longer exists. All applications to diploma-level nursing courses are now made through UCAS in the normal way.
You can choose up to five courses and can select a combination of degrees and diplomas, but you can only complete one application in each cycle.
Although the application dates are the same as other courses, some diploma courses start in January so you will need to make sure that you leave enough time for Higher Education Institutions to consider you.
You will need to check with the institutions at which you wish to study and check their entry requirements as they can differ from place to place.
As a general guide, you will probably need:
• Good GCSEs in science, mathematics and English language and/or literature
• A-levels or equivalent will be required for degree level pre-registration courses
• Level 3 NVQ, BTEC, HND and relevant experience may also be taken into account
You will have to make a self declaration and self assessment and then undergo an assessment by a local occupational health department. If you do declare that you have an illness you will have to undergo a medical examination and further information will be requested from your GP. This does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to practice as a nurse or a midwife.
A character reference will also be required from a reliable referee who has had recent contact with you. You will also be required to have a CRB check by the Criminal Records Bureau and a Protection of Children Act list check if you will be working with children.
You will need to be 17 ½ years old when your course starts.
Funding And Bursaries
If you are accepted onto an NHS funded pre-registration courses you will be entitled to a non means-tested bursary from the NHS. This is currently around £6-7000 and will be paid to in instalments for each year of study. When you have accepted a place the NHS Students Grants Unit will be notified and they will then send you an application pack. Your tuition fees will also be paid.
Student loans are available but you will need to check with the Student Loans Company to see if you are eligible.
You may also be entitled to a non means-tested loan from the Local Authority.