This guidance has been produced in partnership with Linking London

Access to HE sector specific guides – Nursing and Midwifery

This guide is to be used alongside the Applying to Higher Education as an Adult information. If you are interested in pursuing a career in nursing or midwifery the following information will be useful as a starting point. You can then use the web links provided to find further information.

What can you study?

Nursing - typically offered on a full time basis lasting 3 years.

There are four main fields of nursing to choose from:
Adult Nursing
Mental Health Nursing
Children’s Nursing
Learning Disability Nursing

Midwifery – typically offered on a full time basis lasting 3 years. If you are already a registered adult nurse you can take a shorter course which takes 18 months.

  • For both nursing and midwifery courses 50% of time is spent at the university and 50% on placements.

Allied Health Professions

You may also want to consider a career in the allied health profession. There are 14 allied health professions in all and you may find you would be more suited to one of these than perhaps nursing or midwifery. They still require the same dedication but provide a slightly different focus. 

Art Therapists
Drama therapists
Music therapists
Chiropodists/podiatrists
Dietitians
Occupational therapists
Operating Department Practitioners
Orthoptists
Osteopaths
Paramedics
Physiotherapists
Prosthetists and Orthotists
Radiographers
Speech and language therapists

It’s important to remember that in choosing to study nursing, midwifery or an allied health profession course you are not only applying for a course but you are embarking on a career.

Entry requirements

  • Each institution will have their own entry requirements so it’s important to look up each individual’s institutions requirements before you apply but generally you will need to be studying a nursing, midwifery, health & social care, science or a related allied health profession Access course. If you are studying another Access subject this may also be acceptable at some institutions, if you have sufficient relevant work experience.
  • While some will ask you to have successfully completed an Access course, most will ask for a certain number of passes, merits and distinctions and some may ask for a certain number of tariff points to be achieved.

Other requirements – in addition to the academic qualification you will also need to:

  • demonstrate evidence of literacy and numeracy
  • complete a satisfactory occupational health check
  • complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance
  • evidence relevant work experience – in a hospital or care setting

Choosing the right course – alterative courses

If you decide not to apply to one of the above courses or have been unsuccessful in securing an offer you may want to look at alternative broadly related courses.

These courses may include:

Biomedical Science
Complementary Therapies
Counselling
Health and Social Care
Osteopathy
Public Health
Psychology
Social Work

This is not an exhaustive list but will give you a flavour of what else you could consider, however for a fuller list you can search on the UCAS website which has a facility to search by broad subject areas: https://digital.ucas.com/search

Selection process – additional information to know

After you have submitted your application through UCAS, and if you meet the standard entry requirements, you will most likely be asked to attend an interview/selection day for shortlisting.

Each institution will have their own method of selection but you may be asked to complete a maths and English test in addition to attending an interview which could take a number of formats, including multiple mini interviews (MMI), and will enable staff to access your suitability for the course but similarly provide you with an opportunity to see if the course is right for you.

Useful Resources/ web links

NHS Careers: Information on careers in the NHS, including details of the wide range of roles available and the entry requirements and skills needed.

Nursing and Midwifery Council: Contains news and updates about the Nursing and Midwifery Council work, projects and priorities.

Royal College of Nursing: Set up to provide representation for the nursing profession and shape health policies.

Royal College of Midwives: Contains lots of useful information on how to become a midwife and the skills you need.

Health & Care Professions Council: An organisation that regulate health, psychological and social work professionals.

Volunteering opportunities from Do-it : Information about volunteer opportunities for non-profit organisations. 

Career advice from Prospects: Information on careers within the nursing field.