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Friday, 4 October 2013

The NHS Needs Nurses

"Call the Midwife" fans take note: the NHS needs nurses!

Students interested in the healthcare field, who have an interest in helping others, or who simply want a
steady job in a currently understaffed industry, should consider taking on nursing as a career choice. The 2012 UK nursing labour market review begins with two words: "Overstretched. Under-resourced." It goes on to indicate that the NHS is facing "increasing problems with the supply of nurses."

This news is not new, although recently-matriculated students may be unaware that this NHS nursing shortage has been predicted for some time. As early as 2001, the Royal College of Nursing was warning of nursing shortages, noting England's 20,000 nursing vacancies. That was over a decade ago, and the nursing shortage has not yet been solved.

What should students interested in the nursing field do to secure positions? To start, you need a nursing degree. Previously, you could simply get a nursing diploma, but as of September 2013, the nursing program has become graduate-entry only.

Students entering a nursing degree program from a secondary school need at least five GCSEs at or above Grade C, with at least two and often three A levels depending on the desired degree programme. If you currently have or are about to complete a non-nursing college degree, it is still possible to re-enter a university nursing program and complete a second degree. Many of your previously-earned university courses transfer, meaning you are able to focus your second degree solely on the courses required for nursing.

In addition to the general NHS nursing shortage that has lasted for over a decade, it is essential to train as many new nurses as possible to prepare for the upcoming population shift. As Britain's population ages, more and more people will need geriatric nursing services, and there are growing opportunities in every field from assisted living to nutrition to hospice care.

Countries across the globe are preparing for this upcoming shift. Many United States peers enter nursing programmes that offer online programs for RN degrees. You can get a list of these programs from The College Network and see the variety of nursing careers out there. Expect international cooperation as countries share innovations in cancer treatments, diabetes management, Alzheimer's research and other diseases that disproportionately affect older patients.

Britain's population is also scheduled to steadily increase over the next 15 years, and 56 per cent of that increase will come from new infants. If you are interested in midwifery, it is possible use your nursing degree to train as a midwife and welcome new babies into the world. You must first complete your nursing degree to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but then you can follow in the footsteps of Jenny, Chummy, and the other "Call the Midwife" nurses.

In short: the NHS needs nurses, and today's students are just the people to fit the bill. Whether you are interested in helping people recover from injury, monitoring the results of new cancer treatments, or aiding a new baby's first breath, there is a nursing career for you. To learn more, visit the NHS careers website at

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