The insane timelines and standards of society, the rising cost of studying in a university and the depressing economic situation drive a lot of people to choose a profession that doesn’t match their interests and skills. This situation is commonly observed among individuals who want to pursue nursing as a career in the United Kingdom. If you’re among the many people who had to put off their dreams of becoming a registered nurse in the UK, it’s not too late to start again.
Before you finally decide to switch to nursing, we highly recommend conducting a self-assessment. Ask yourself if you really have what it takes to become a nurse. Know what sort of skills and traits you already have that can help you navigate through your new career smoothly.
What qualifications do you need to be a nurse?
Needless to say, it’s hard to work as a nurse. It can be a physically, mentally and emotionally demanding job. Because of this, aspiring nurses need to have the following qualifications to survive nursing school and to become a top-notch UK nurse:
- Has great communication skills and can speak in English fluently
- Has the ability to empathise with patients especially those who are in great pain
- Can efficiently manage time and tasks given to you
- Has no problem in dealing with multiple tasks at the same time
- Can quickly recognise patterns and notice even the smallest details
- Should be physically fit to work for around 12 hours a day
- Can respond and solve problems quickly
- Has composure even when working in a stressful environment
- Has deep and utmost respects to patients and their families
- Has no problem in socialising with many types of people each day
So, how many qualifications did you tick? Do you have all of these traits? Are there some bits that you need to work on?
If you think you’re a great fit, you can proceed to the next procedure – acquiring the necessary requirements to become a duly licensed nurse in the country.
How do I start my career in nursing?
If you already graduated with a college degree, you can apply for an accelerated program. With this specialised nursing programme, you won’t need to spend four years to get a nursing degree. Instead, depending on your qualifications, you may only need two to three years to graduate. To check the requirements, you can visit the UCAS website.
What are some careers in nursing?
After completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you have can pursue different career paths. Here are some of the most common choices of nursing graduates in the country:
- Children’s nurse – They take care of newborn babies, young children and adolescents. They are also trained to provide emotional support and reassurance to the parents or guardians of their young patients.
This type of nurse work in a wide array of settings, including the child’s home, day care centres, and hospitals.
- Adult’s nurse – They’re in charge of caring for adult patients suffering from any type of short-term diseases or health problems. Some of the cases they attend to include diabetes, injuries resulting from vehicular accidents, pneumonia and heart diseases.
As an adult nurse, you may have options to work in hospital wards, community clinics, prison services, police stations and of course, private agencies.
- Learning disability nurse – Patients who suffer from learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, visual motor deficit and auditory processing disorder are best assisted and cared for by a learning disability nurse.
If you wish to pursue this career, you may need to work in residential centres, community healthcare facilities, hospitals, patient’s residence and even prisons. In most cases, learning disability nurses work in shifts to provide 24-hour medical assistance and care to patients.
- District nurse – District nurses work hand in hand with primary health workers. The team takes charge in assessing the medical needs of patients residing in care homes
Most of the time, district nurses deal with elderly patients, especially those diagnosed with a physical disability or terminal illness.
- General practice nurse – This type of nurse works closely with pharmacists, dietitians and doctors. They can take part in various activities including taking blood samples, obtaining ECGs, managing minor wounds, and screening patients for sexual disorders.
If you want to become a GP nurse, you must qualify as mental health, child, adult or learning disability nurse first. You will also be required to undergo a series of medical training and enrol in additional specialisation courses.
- Mental health nurse – Mental health nursing or RMN is regarded by many as the most demanding type of nursing position. RMNs are tasked to support patients suffering from mental health issues by encouraging them to participate in group therapies and exercises.
Whilst this position does come with many challenges, a lot of nurses still want to become RMNs. To become successful in this career path, you must learn how to build strong relationships with the patients, relatives and their carers, understand patient’s needs and determine how you can provide the appropriate care and support.
- Neonatal nurse – There are many instances when a child is born prematurely. To help a premature baby survive, the hospital places them in specialised equipment that will aid the body in performing specific physiological nurses until it’s ready to function on its own.
Neonatal nurses are part of the healthcare team assigned to monitor the condition of the baby, administering fluids and medication, checking machine settings and performing resuscitation routine in case the baby flatlines.
- Prison nurse – The roles and responsibilities of prison nurses are similar to GP nurses but they put greater emphasis on substance abuse and misuse and mental health concerns.
As a prison nurse, you can expect to form tasks such as obtaining blood for drug screening, treating minor injuries, conducting cervical smears, providing advice and support for smoking cessation and performing general lab tests for male patients.
- Theatre nurse – This type of nurse is responsible for preparing patients before they undergo a surgical operation. They assess the condition of the patient and provide the report to the operating staff. They also brief the patient about the pros and cons of the procedure.
After the operation, they continue to care and assist the patient. They will conduct an assessment to determine if the patient can be sent back to the ward.
Now that you have an idea of the possible positions you can choose from, it’s time to start your job hunt.
Where to find work?
Work is everywhere in the UK, most especially because of the current hospital staff shortage issues faced by the government. Reports say that the government has spent millions just to advertise vacant positions and to hire nursing agencies to help fill the demand.
You can easily find nursing jobs in the UK through print ads, nursing agencies, job portals, social media, and websites.
Whether you prefer working for the NHS or the private sectors, you won’t run out of job options. The only challenge to land your ultimate dream job is to ensure that you have the qualifications they’re looking for.
Start your career in nursing
Nurses are highly in demand not only in the UK but in other nations as well. This is why it’s worth it to consider it as a new career path. Whilst you may need to spend additional years to study and train to become a nurse, the rewards you will reap at the end of the day offsets everything.
Now is the perfect time for you to chase your dreams. There’s plenty of opportunity waiting for you in and out of the country once you graduate, get your license and go through the required training programmes.
Author Bio: Catherine Stewart has been working as writer for Nurses, a nursing job portal site for healthcare professionals. Her articles mostly tackle nursing life, nursing career options, care homes, and healthcare. She aims to help female nurses and care home professionals to jumpstart their career in the UK.