The UK has seen a record rise in the number of university applications to become nurses, according to figures published by UCAS following the June 30 deadline for 2021 applications.
A total of 78,700 people across the country had applied for nursing courses, compared to 64,980 last year.
This represented a 21% increase on last year and marked the fourth consecutive year that application numbers had increased.
Health Education England (HEE) welcomed the rise in applicants, with Chief Nurse Professor Mark Radford saying: “It is great to see applications increase for the fourth year in a row, and by such a big margin.
“The latest figures represent a whopping 42% growth in applicants from 2018 - an increase from 55,380 in 2018 to 78,700 this year.
“This is fantastic news when you consider what a really tough year for the NHS and I continue to be in awe of truly outstanding commitment of nurses across the country in these challenging times.
"We will work with our outstanding universities to welcome and support many thousands of new recruits to embark on this amazing and truly rewarding career."
More information on becoming a nurse, and hundreds of other career options within the health service, can be found by visiting the NHS Health Careers website.