To work as a nurse in the UK you’ll need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
To do this you’ll need to have studied for your Nursing degree at a NMC approved university and meet the NMC requirements for good health and good character.
Nursing and training programmes in the UK are only run at NMC approved educational institutions (AEIs) and are based in health and social care settings. This ensures that the level of education and training you receive is of a high standard.
There are also a number of qualifications and professional development courses you can take after graduation. When deciding which courses to take it’s best to look for a course that is Royal College of Nursing (RCN) accredited to ensure that you’re getting the best education.
Here’s more about the accreditations to look for when applying for Nursing courses:
All university Nursing courses in the UK must be NMC approved to ensure that the same high standards are met across the country.
Currently there are around 1000 approved courses at 77 AEIs around the country so there are plenty of options if you want to study Nursing.
NMC approval provides quality assurance for your education and all of the institutions are monitored and regularly reviewed to ensure that standards don’t fall.
Approval also requires that patients and service users are part of the process in deciding how courses are designed and delivered so you’ll be getting an education that really will prepare you for a career in Nursing.
You’ll spend around half of your time studying in a clinical setting having direct contact with patients and their families. All Nursing courses have a strong emphasis on hands-on learning so that you’ll graduate with the practical, as well as theoretical, skills you need to be a successful nurse.
As we said above, there are around 1000 courses and 77 universities that are approved by the NMC so you have plenty of choice.
You can search for NMC approved courses on the NMC website.
Here are the top 10 universities for Nursing degree courses in the UK according to The Guardian University League Table 2016:
After you’ve become a registered nurse there are various courses you’ll need to take to keep your knowledge and skills up to date. You can also take courses to further specialise in your chosen branch of Nursing.
As part of the post-registration education and practice (PREP) standards set by the NMC you’ll be required to undertake at least five days (35 hours) of learning activity relevant to your practice during the three years prior to renewing your registration.
If you’re looking at courses it’s important to choose a course that is accredited either by the NMC or the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
There are a number of courses you can take that are offered by the NMC or the RCN to develop your skills, including:
Similarly to choosing an NMC accredited course you’ll know that you’re studying a course that meets the highest educational standards for Nursing if you take an RCN programme.
The RCN has around 4000 members and is recognised within the healthcare sector as promoting high standards and professional development within the nursing community.
RCN courses and events can be used as evidence of your PREP so remember to keep your certificates for your PREP portfolio.
If you already have a Nursing qualification from outside of the UK you’ll need to take an NMC adaptation course to ensure that you meet the standards set for nurses practicing in the UK.
You can find more details about adaptation courses and search for approved courses on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website.