England’s Chief Nurse calls for young people to consider nursing

“Your NHS needs you.”

Those are the rallying words of Ruth May, England’s Chief Nursing Officer, ahead of A-Level results day as she calls for young people to consider a career studying nursing, joining thousands who have already applied this year.

Under the pressures of coronavirus, NHS staff have been forced to work above and beyond to treat both those sick with the virus and maintaining the vital care of those requiring treatment for other conditions.

Throughout the country, public appreciation is sky high, but now the health service is calling on young adults to consider not just clapping for carers, but becoming one in the future.

Already, there has been a significant uptick in interest. The number of young men in England applying for nursing degrees is already at a five-year high, and more than 17,000 young people, aged 20 and under, across England had applied to join a nursing degree course by June 30; up one sixth on the same period in 2018.

The figures, from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), showed 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 being attributed to the ‘leading role’ nurses have played in the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of NHS England’s We are the NHS campaign, the health service is looking to intensify its targeting of those getting their A-Levels tomorrow, utilising a wide-reaching email and media campaign to appeal to those entering the clearing system to apply for nursing degrees.

An estimated 80,000 students are expected to be part of the UCAS clearing process this year, which offers available places on degree courses for those who want to change their post A-Level plans for whatever reason.

Ms May 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.

“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 currently 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.


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