How to become a student nurse: Keilagh's story

“Growing up, I couldn’t manage school – I think it was a bit too much. I just couldn’t settle because home life was unsettled.”

Keilagh couldn’t settle at school and chose to leave at 14. When she became a mum, she decided to pursue her dream and train to be a nurse.

After leaving school at 14, Keilagh received some training to support looked-after children. A few years later, when her daughter was born, Keilagh decided to retrain for her dream job.

She looked up how to get a nursing qualification, found the degree that she needed and learned about the requirements to get on the course. Keilagh completed her Maths and English GCSEs and a health access course, then applied for university.

Keilagh was over the moon when she was offered university places. She loved the combination of lectures, skills workshops and placements that she did three days a week.

She continued to work part-time to fund her learning and by 2021 will be a qualified nurse. The whole experience has given her more confidence and will allow her to make a different life for her family.

“I think learning as an adult is so much easier because you know you want it. By 2021, I’ll be a qualified nurse. That’s my future. I can build and save.”

What to expect if you want to be a nurse

  • Nurse salary: £24,214 to £37,267 per year
  • Nurse working hours: 37 to 42 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to become a nurse?

  • Typical entry requirements: You can do a university degree in Adult Nursing approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. Some degree courses let you study another area of nursing alongside Adult Nursing. Full-time courses usually take three years. You may be able to join a nursing degree on the second year of a course if you already have a degree in:

    • a health-related subject
    • Psychology
    • Life Sciences
    • Social work

You’ll need five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, Maths and a science, and two or three A-levels (or equivalent), including at least one science or health-related subject. You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in social care or healthcare work before you apply for nurse training.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

Find more expert advice about nursing careers on the NHS website and if you're interested in a career in nursing, get your guide to a nursing career.

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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