Hi - UK Student Nurse :)

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  • by mree
    Specializes in Emergency Care.

Hi everyone, I'm a 3rd year student nurse from the North-East of England. We've recently had a lot of fuss made about our education, in particular bursaries and level of qualification, and as I've been 'ghosting' on this site for quite some time, I thought I'd actually register, see what your experiences of studying are, and if we should just stop moaning and be grateful for what we get!

I'm studying the Diploma course to become a RN. It's 3 years full-time, with 50% of that time spent in the classroom and the other 50% on placement in hospitals, hospices, community healthcare services etc. Our workload is quite academically-weighted, with 70% of our eventual mark being decided by assignment marks and the other 30% by marks awarded by mentors in practice. We're always supernumery when on placement (in theory!) to allow us the time to observe and learn. We get a non-means-tested bursary of about £550 per month. The degree students (same course, marked at a higher level) get a bursary, but it's means-tested so some get very little, and can apply for a student loan to make up the difference. Fees are paid by the NHS for both sets of students. When I qualify, I'll go back a few months later to complete 3 more modules to get a full degree, although I'll pay about £900 for this. We've got a huge anti-nurse sentiment in the UK at the moment, mainly due to underfunding of the NHS and poor staffing levels, but many of the public think it's because of the 'academisation' of nursing careers - they seem to think we should be happy with our lot in life as doctor's hand maidens, wipers of bottoms and holders of hands, not degree-educated and ambitious!

I'm working part-time as an auxilliary nurse, fitting shifts around my placements at the same hospital. This gets a bit confusing if you're on a ward in student uniform on a morning, then back on the same ward as an A/N on the afternoon! We're trained as part of our course do set up IVs, give medications, cannullate patients, catheterise and carry out wound care, as well as the usual paperwork, care plans, etc.

I guess I'm just wondering how this compares to your education structure, financial considerations, etc. Most of all, to your experiences?


23 Posts


What you have described is very different than what we have here in the US. There are a few Certificate RN programs left in the US. I believe the number is under 10. The rest of the RN programs offer an Associates Degree, Bachelors Degree or Masters Degree. We now have a Doctorate in Nursing Degree program too. We do not receive the type of payment that you call busary. The US has a financial aid program for all college education, no matter what the field. Your income, or lack thereof determines your eligibility. You can receive grants, scholarships, or loans. Some hospitals will reimburse graduates for part or all of their tuition. Some hospitals will hire nursing students as Techs and pay them for the hours that they work, but that is separate from their school business. The hospitals will hire them as Techs, and sometimes they will keep them on as Nurses after they graduate, but that is no obligation for them to do so. Some hospitals that hire student nurses will have them to sign a contract if the hospital pays part of the tuition in return for so many years of work as a Nurse (with a Nurses pay) when the student graduates. The nursing programs have lectures at the college and rotations in hospitals (non paid). Hope that answers your questions.

Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

Welcome to the site

Yes things are done so much different in the UK and I think at times if a UK citizen it is nice that for most it is paid. I trained back in 86 and my training was done at a school of nursing attached to a hospital and not supernumerary but loved the training and was fortunate more than you as I was also paid unsociable hours and weekends

I agree the UK blames a lot on nurses especially the media and doubt that will change any time soon. Good luck and I hope you are able to find a job when you qualify


11 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Care.

Wow, that sounds complicated!

Thanks for your replies guys, by the sound of it we don't have it too bad over here after all! What's the job situation like over there? I know it's a huge country, but are there any shortages of nurses/jobs for nurses where you are? We're not too bad at the moment, where I live there's a new wing opening at the local hospital the month after I qualify, and a new Minor Injuries Unit the same month, so hopefully will do OK for a job!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

Overall, the USA is much more 'university focused' than the rest of the world - that's one of the reasons that we have so few diploma/certificate programs left. Although I certainly have heard some physicians and hospital administrators grumble that nursing just isn't as good as it was back in the old (diploma) days - there is a general American expectation that all "real" education only occurs in a college or university.

Personally, I feel that the USA would really benefit from more vocational/apprecenticeship programs - in all fields, not just healthcare. College education is so expensive and getting more so everyday. New Graduates are saddled with HUGE student loans to repay and jobs are getting more scarce. It would be really great if there was an alternative solution to enable young people to enter a profession.

Isn't it interesting? One of our (USA) basic arguments for college/university nursing degrees is that nurses will be taken seriously by other professions; that this is a route to greater legitimate power and control in Healthcare. Yet - we are still pretty 'invisible' as far as the general public is concerned. When things go 'wrong' in healthcare, nursing (as a profession) doesn't get blamed or singled out in the media... we are seen as victims controlled by the medical and administrative 'establishment'. In fact, nursing has been voted the most trusted profession in public surveys for the last decade. If we ever manage to actually achieve the 'power' will this change the public perception?

Just something to think about.

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