12 August 2020

England’s chief nurse has issued a rallying call to those receiving their A-Level results to join the thousands of their peers who have already applied to study nursing this year.

NHS staff, including nurses, have pulled out all the stops to treat more than 100,000 COVID-19 patients as well as everyone else who needed care over the last six months.

While levels of appreciation amongst the public are sky high, the health service is calling on young adults – dubbed the ‘Covid Generation’ due to the long term impact the virus is likely to have on their lives – to not just clap for carers, but to become one.

Interest is already high; the number of young men in England who have applied for nursing degrees already is the highest for five years.

They are among more than 17,000 young people (20 and under) living in England who had applied to join a nursing degree course by 30 June – up around a sixth on 2018 – with a huge increase during the coronavirus pandemic

The figures, from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), show a surge in applications for nursing degrees amongst all ages across the UK — up by 16% year-on-year to 47,320 by the end of June – with the increase attributed to the ‘leading role’ nurses have played in the country’s response to COVID-19.

17,000 people aged 20 and under had applied to join a nursing degree course by 30 June

With thousands of degree places available at dozens of universities across the country, grants between £5,000 and £8,000 per year available, starting salaries of £24,900 and no shortage of jobs when qualified, the NHS is seeking to highlight nursing as a strong career choice in “uncertain times”.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “The last six months has seen nurses and midwives play a leading role in the fight against coronavirus, cementing the high esteem they are held in by the nation, so it’s no surprise that interest in nursing degrees is already high.

“Uncertain times lay ahead, but one thing we can be sure of is that the country and the NHS will always need nurses, and that nursing will always offer a rewarding and varied career – making it a strong choice for any young people considering their options tomorrow.

“Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is found the NHS will still need all the staff it can get to help deliver on our Long Term Plan to save more lives and improve the country’s health.

Applications for nursing degrees amongst all ages across the UK is up by 16% year-on-year

“So whoever you are, whatever your background and wherever you want to go: your NHS needs you, so search ‘Nursing Careers’ today.”

More than 300,000 nurses work in the NHS in England, covering a wide variety of roles including children’s care, adults, older people, learning disability, mental health and cancer.

The NHS is one of the top ten employers in the world, offering around 350 roles, employing more than 1.3 million people, and caring for around one million patients every day.

As well as nursing, a career in the NHS can include roles such as psychiatrist, lab technician, physio, paramedic, scientist, GP, surgeon, anesthetist and over 300 more.

Read the full 'Your NHS needs you' press release.

View nursing vacancies at Royal Papworth Hospital Trust

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