Can I become a nurse?(5 Posts)
Hi I'm 24 and have 2 DC (3.8 and 20 months) I live with my DP.
It's a complicated situation but the basic details are that DP may need to leave his job permanently for health reasons. I am currently a sahm.
Without DP working, is there anyway of me becoming a nurse? Obviously I wouldn't be bringing in any money doing this so can we claim benefits to live on?
The other problem I have, is my lack of qualifications. I only have GCSEs (11 Cs) and AS levels (fist year of A levels) is there a distant learning course I could do to gain an A level or equivalent? Then I could work at the same time, until I could apply for a nursing degree.
DP has been working full time since he was 16 and has never been out of work. He worked himself up and was on a decent wage. The only benefits we've ever claimed are child benefit and a very small amount of child tax credit. We don't want to live on benefits for the rest of our lives, I want to be a nurse so I can support my family. At the moment I do occasional shifts as a waitress and could get a full time job there if needed, but I don't want to work there for the rest of my life.
Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
Hi there, it sounds like it would be difficult but not impossible for you to become a nurse.
Only having GCSE's shouldn't be a huge problem as you can do an access course which should bring your qualifications up to the standard needed. You can usually do this part time, have a look at local colleges to see what they offer. Unfortunately if you are a student you then wouldn't be able to claim benefits.
Once you passed the access course you would be able to apply to Uni to study nursing. This is a full time course and again you wouldn't be able to claim benefits, however you should be paid a small bursary whilst training. When I did my training I got £6k a year but I think the rules have changed since all nursing courses have become degree level.
If this isn't financially possible at the moment have you thought about looking for a job as a healthcare assistant in a hospital? If you work for the NHS you should get the chance to do an NVQ whilst working and this could be helpful in applying for nurse training in the future.
You sound ideal for an access to health or access to nursing course. They are usually 1 year full time or 2 years part time.
You may or may not get benefits as a parent, a few years ago you would but things keep changing.
You could look into an access course or foundation degree, this would mean you would be doing a total of 5 years full time training. It is very competitive to get into. Do you have experience of voluntary work or anything?
I am currently on a nursing degree course and like the above I would say it's not impossible for you to become a nurse but it will take a lot of commitment. Everyone doing nursing now has to do a degree.
Firstly I'd say it is very competitive to get a place at uni and you have to really prepare youself to beat the competition (because that is effectively what it is).
Here are a few pointers:
You need to do an Access course (I suppose Access to Nursing) unless you choose to do 3 A levels with some of them being science ones and you need to get good grades. I found when I was applying, they had so many applicants, you had to make sure you got the grades and stood out so as to be called forward for the tests/interviews. As opposed to being automatically rejected at the first hurdle i.e. told straight out your application has been unsuccessful without even being given a chance to do the tests/interviews.
If your application is successful, I believe most universities now call you forward to sit a maths and English test. If you pass that, you get called forward for an interview.
The course is very demanding especially if you have children. I found if you have someone to help with childcare, that is a big problem solved as you will do lots of placements and the hours are pretty unsocial.
You can apply for a means tested bursary and help with childcare costs. If you are in London, I believe you can get up to a maximum of £10,000 per year, not including child care costs. There are no uni fess to pay.
I throughly enjoy what I am doing. My advice, is that if you are serious about getting onto a course, you really need to prepare youself to fight for a place. I believe at my uni, there were something in the region of 6,000 applications for 300 places! (Just to give you some idea of what you could be up against). I also strongly advise you to try and get some sort of healthcare experience as it will also considerably strengthen your application.
Hope that helps. Don't give up, just be aware of what you need to do to give yourself a fighting chance as oppose to falling at the first hurdle.
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