To become a registered nurse you need to take a 3-4 year degree (SCQF Level 9-10) in nursing. Entry requirements 3-4 Highers plus one or more subjects at National 5, preferably including English and a science subject.
An Access to nursing course may also give entry. However, always check that the course is accepted by the college or university you want to go to before you apply.
You could complete the HNC Healthcare Practice (SCQF Level 7) at college before going onto first or second year of an undergraduate degree in nursing.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
You should have a good level of physical fitness. You will undergo health screening.
When you complete your training you must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Previous experience in a paid or voluntary role in a health care setting would be an advantage.
Most registered nurses work for the National Health Service (NHS). You could also work with a nursing agency, hospice, in a private hospital or nursing home, with the armed services or in a prison. You can find NHS job vacancies in Scotland by visiting NHS Scotland Recruitment.
What Does it Take?
You should be:
able to communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds
very observant and able to act on your own initiative
patient and tactful
willing to take responsibility
able to assess what is best for the patient
flexible to multitask
a good teamworker
confident to make decisions
able to remain calm in stressful situations.
Once you have gained your NMC registration, training is on the job. There are ongoing requirements for education and skills development.
During your first year as a qualified nurse you would get extra support and guidance through the Flying Start Programme.
To continue working as a nurse you must renew your registration with the NMC every three years.
With further learning and experience you could progress to senior, advanced or consultant level.
To renew your NMC registration you must keep your skills and knowledge up to date, by undertaking at least 35 hours of relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and 450 of practice hours every three years. Full details can be found on NMC website.
You could take further courses in a wide range of specialisms, such as orthopaedics, cancer or coronary care, which would lead to more responsible jobs in hospital.
You could take courses such as health visiting or district nursing, which would lead to more responsible jobs in the community.
Of all the branches of nursing, adult nursing offers the best chances of employment and so you could work abroad.
The Scottish Government runs the One Year Job Guarantee (OYJG) Scheme for newly qualified nurses and midwives to help improve their chances of finding work as well as developing their skills. The positions are one-year fixed term contracts at 22.5 hours a week, set at grade 5 on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scale. For further details contact NHS Scotland Careers.