How do you become a Nurse?

Are you a caring and compassionate person, or do you love helping people in need? Then maybe becoming a nurse is the perfect career for you. We will give you the rundown on what qualifications you need, the college courses you can take, and the skills which are vital to becoming a nurse. Additionally, we explain to you, your expected salary as a nurse and your day-to-day task.

What do Nurses do?

Your day-to-day tasks are to, of course, look after sick and ill people. Dealing with all ages, genders and health conditions, you are tasked with cleaning and aiding in patients' recovery. Monitoring patient health by taking temperatures, blood pressure and pulse rates.

Advising on the proper medication, drugs and injections which can treat wounds and conditions effectively. As a nurse, you are trained to treat wounds and set drips up. Also, monitoring the progress of patients and updating changes in medication in patient records. Advising patients and their relatives on the most effective method or treatment for other health conditions.

Your job is to create handovers for the nurses next on shift. Working with doctors or other professionals to decide what care is best and suitable for the different health conditions that enter the hospital.

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Qualifications to become a Nurse


There are two ways for you to become a nurse. Your first option is the most typical; university - there are a variety of available degrees. You can sometimes apply for additional financial support as a student. This is from the NHS learning support fund; you can find this on the government website. These courses usually take 3 years if you enrol.

  • Adult Nursing (Approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council)
  • A health-related subject
  • Psychology
  • Life Sciences
  • Social Work

Your second option is training as a nurse in the armed forces. Either the Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy. Your entry requirements for the armed forces are 4 or 5 GCSEs in grades 9 to 4, with your English and Maths. Whilst for university degrees, you need 2 to 3 A-levels, including a Science or level 3 diploma, to enrol, these need to be relevant subjects.

Work Experience

You also have two options for gaining experience; your first option is to enrol in a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting. Degree apprenticeships take around 4 years to complete. In the mix of academic training and on-the-job training, in most cases, your employer must support the apprenticeship. To enrol, you must have 4 or 5 GCSEs between grades 9 and 4, as well as A-levels.

Your second option is to volunteer; this is extremely helpful before applying for nurse training. Some options available to you include:

  • Working in Health and Social Care
  • Volunteer with charity mental health services
  • Voluntary Services coordinator from the NHS
  • Find volunteering opportunities at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations

Skills needed to become a Nurse


Being a nurse requires extreme professionalism, as you deal with personal health conditions. You must provide top-quality care and confidentiality when handling all patients, regardless of their attitude. You must continually uphold your ethics and values of respect, integrity and accountability.

Conflict Resolution

Your ability to assess situations, understand the conflict and find solutions makes you a great nurse. Keeping situations contained and calm in a hospital, general practice or in a patient home is crucial. Listening to patient conflicts may be a tedious part of your job, but being understanding is extremely important.

Critical Thinking

As a nurse, your application of critical thinking in your process of solving problems or conflict resolution. Creating solutions to patient dilemmas with either medication or other healthcare providers.

Salaries of Nurses in the UK

As a nurse, your average salary will be around £35,000 per year. However, as a nurse with no experience, you will be looking at a starting salary of £27,000 per year, whilst more experienced nurses will earn over £40,000 when at a band 6 position. This graph, it shows you the average salary of different nursing jobs in the UK; it is clear that being a health visitor or GP nurse is better paid.

Salaries of Nurses in the UK

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Overview of a Nurse

Profession Group Public Services
Minimum Age 17
Education Requirements Degree or Apprenticeship Degree
Salary Indication £31,000
Related Jobs Medical, Care Assistant and Pharmacy

FAQs about Nurses

  • Which field of nursing pays the highest?

  • Being a certified registered nurse anaesthetist, this job is classified as the highest-earning profession in nursing.

  • How much do you earn in a band 2 NHS salary?

  • Band two earns between £18,870 to £20.270; this is based on two years' of experience.

  • How much do nurses in London make?

  • The average salary for a nurse in London is £47,449

See more of our professions guide