NHS Chief Nurse congratulates students and urges them to make the most of clearing opportunities

England’s leading nurse has congratulated the thousands of students who have been accepted onto a nursing degree course today.

While many A-level students are already on track to start nursing careers this September, NHS chiefs are encouraging anyone still considering their options to apply for a place through clearing.

With plenty of spaces still available through clearing, the students still undecided on their next steps are today being urged to follow this “exciting and rewarding path” and become one of England’s more than 300,000 nurses.

Nursing is regarded as one of the most wide-ranging and rewarding careers, with over 50 different roles and specialties that students can look into while studying and after graduating.

Students will leave as one of the most employable graduates in the UK, with 94% of those studying nursing landing a job within six months.

Ruth May, NHS chief nursing officer, said: “It is great to see today’s figures showing that thousands of people have decided to pursue an exciting and rewarding path to become a nurse, one day joining our NHS team and changing the lives of the thousands of patients they will treat.

“This is a testament to the bravery and hard work of all our NHS staff throughout the pandemic which no doubt inspired hundreds of today’s successful applicants and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.

“Joining the NHS was the best decision I ever made so if you are a student thinking about your next steps, please consider applying to study nursing through UCAS clearing – it is one of the most employable degrees around and probably the most rewarding career in the world.

“If you think nursing could be for you, you can search ‘NHS nursing careers’ to find out more about the roles available and how to apply.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Congratulations to all those receiving their A-Level and T Level results today, and especially to those who will be joining our fantastic NHS and social care workforce.

“A career in the in the NHS or social care is hugely rewarding and with a variety of routes in to develop your career and skills, you will undoubtedly be making a difference to people’s lives every single day.”

Chelsea, a community mental health nurse, came into nursing through clearing as a mature student aged 25. She was inspired to apply while working in a mental health clinic and is now part of her local trust’s mental health crisis team, soon to move on to a role as a senior mental health nurse.

Chelsea Fawcett, a community mental health nurse at Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “At college I was told to be a nurse I’d need to be ‘good at science’ so disregarded it, but while working as a receptionist at a mental health clinic I was really inspired by the work I saw and applied to become a mental health nurse.

“In less than two months of first considering it, I was accepted for a place through clearing and was well on my way to becoming a qualified nurse. Each of my shifts are around 12 hours long but the work is so varied and rewarding, and I am delighted that four years on I have just accepted a new job as a senior mental health nurse which I start in a few months’ time.

“If you are unsure about your next steps, there are so many opportunities for you in the NHS – I cannot recommend it enough!”

Those who choose to attend university to study nursing will also be eligible for the NHS Learning Support Fund, which guarantees a grant of £5,000 a year, as well as specialist payments for studying mental health or learning disability nursing.

The period for UCAS clearing is now open and prospective students will be able to apply for courses until 18 October. Entry requirements for nursing degree courses will vary, but students are advised they will likely need at least two A Levels or equivalent. Prospective applicants are advised to contact a university directly to find out their specific requirements.