Nursing, psychology or physiotherapy

(14 Posts)
questioner123 Tue 29-May-18 11:45:46

Hi All,

My daughter is coming up to choosing what to study at University and she really can’t decide between these 3 degrees.

Potentially in the future she would be interested in graduate entry medicine or the physicians associate programme.

Psychology- clinical psychologist, solicitor, graduate entry medicine?

Nursing- potentially paediatric, then specialise and become a nurse practioner.

Physiotherapy- not sure what she would particularly like to go into area wise etc.

Does anyone have any advice or experiences of these, as well as things such as job prospects, work/life balance, skills needed etc.?

Many thanks 😊

OP’s posts: |
purplegreen99 Tue 29-May-18 14:08:21

I don't enough knowledge to help with the choice, but just wanted to suggest sorting out relevant work experience or volunteering if your daughter hasn't done so already. It can be difficult to find this with so many students needing experience in some kind of care setting to get onto healthcare-related degree courses.

I know someone who is doing a gap year as a care assistant in a care home as he didn't get on a nursing degree course last year due to lack of relevant experience (he has a place at uni for this autumn). A friend of my daughter's has done two summers helping on a disabled children's holiday scheme and is applying for nursing too, and someone else we know has trained as a volunteer athletics coach and is hoping to go into physiotherapy.

BubblesBuddy Tue 29-May-18 14:08:59

They are slightly different in that Psychology is academic. The other two are vocational and I would suggest that as they lead directly to jobs, she will need to be sure she wants those careers. Otherwise, I cannot see the point of going down these routes.

She seems to be unsure of a career if she lists solicitor and medicine! The route into medicine you describe sounds like a long slog and I assume she won’t get into a medicine school so is looking for alternatives. That could be a long shot due to the competitiveness of medicine. With nursing you have a decent chance of getting on the course, and getting the job you want afterwards. Can she not look at medicine now? What are her A levels?

Regarding psychology, I understsnd few grads get the opportunity to work as Clinical Psychologists due to the competitiveness of obtaining the training positions post grad. That’s a bit of a long shot too. However that’s not to say it’s not a good degree and it leads to a wide variety of careers. A friends DD has followed it up with doing social work MA.

Why look at being a solicitor? If she wants to get a training contract, I think there are degrees to take which may be more competitive for Law. If she doesn’t think she can do medicine, then I’m not sure she will be in the running for being a solicitor either because that usually requires top drawer A levels too. It’s another highly competitive career choice and it’s littered with highly qualified Law Grads (and others) who cannot get training contracts.

I would try and narrow it down to realistic choices and career paths based on A levels and grades and what she really wants in the shorter term.

purplegreen99 Tue 29-May-18 14:21:25

It might be worth looking at whether she could do a taster day at a nearby university to find out more about what these degrees involve. There are several nursing & psychology taster days listed on UCAS:
Maybe contact a local hospital physiotherapy department to see if she can spend a day there?

charley39 Tue 29-May-18 14:26:08

I’m sure with any career choice you want to be certain or 99%sure it is what you want to do because the studying is hard. I trained to be a paediatric nurse and it was so challenging on every level! 50% uni work and 50% Work placements. I lost count of the amount of times I wanted to give it all up for an easier job like my friends but at the end of the day it is such a rewarding job and amazing achievement! You don’t do the job for the money you do it for the love of the job! Good luck in whatever she decides!

titchy Tue 29-May-18 15:33:27

If she's year 12 she's almost certainly missed the boat for Physio and nursing unless she has a lot of work experience already - in which case what did the work experience tell her?

Year 12 with little or no work experience and uncertain career-wise sounds like a gap year candidate to me spent doing voluntary work in clinical settings.

If she's year 11 - then what A levels is she planning? And get some work experience!

Agree with bubbles that Psychology is the outlier here - it is VERY academic. Clinical Psych will require a doctorate which is very very very competitive. Similarly PG entry med is far more competitive, and expensive, than the UG route, so why is that even an option?

questioner123 Tue 29-May-18 15:47:14

Thanks everyone for your replies.

She is in year 12 and is doing biology psychology and English literature for her a-levels.

She has done lots of work experience, both in physiotherapy and in medicine with the doctors and nurses. She also has work experience in a law firm in the summer. She obviously can’t do medicine as an undergraduate so it is only possible in the future. She has always been interested in healthcare, which is why she is considering all her options.

Law is the least likely of them all but is another option if she does a psychology degree.

She is predicated high grades at a-level, but just can’t decide where her heart lies the most as to what degree to choose!

Everyone’s advice is very helpful, thanks 😊

OP’s posts: |


BubblesBuddy Tue 29-May-18 17:51:50

When she chose her A levels, what did she think she might want to do? I assume not Law. Therefore it might be better to stay with a health career, of which there are many.

If she is academic, there is every reason to do Psychology, but be aware that flexibility on graduating is important because very few work as Psychologists eventually. So does that degree really suit her ambitions? My neighbour's DS who did it is a journalist.

Skiiltan Tue 29-May-18 18:09:51

If she's thinking about graduate-entry medicine or physician associate programmes she should be looking now at their entry requirements because some or all of these degrees won't be accepted by some of the programmes.

Some graduate-entry medicine programmes have minimum A-level requirements or require the first degree to be in a medicine-related science subject. Some will not accept psychology as a first degree, and some will say nursing degrees do not include enough basic science and physiotherapy doesn't include enough chemistry. Other graduate-entry medicine programmes require the GAMSAT aptitude test, which graduates in non-physical-science subjects tend to score quite poorly in.

Many physician associate programmes require a biological science or health profession degree, which would not include psychology.

Incidentally, she could apply directly for medicine at Newcastle with those A-levels, as long as she has an A in GCSE chemistry or double/triple science, but she'll need a stonking UKCAT score. There are some 6-year medicine courses she could apply for, too: Manchester, Keele and Cardiff are three possibilities, but Keele's will change after 2019 so this is the last year she'd be eligible for that one.

annandale Tue 29-May-18 18:16:58

The last thing she needs is another option grin but has she considered speech and language therapy? Biology psychology and english is a really good basis for SALT (English lang better than lit but hard to find as an a-level).

Did she write any pros and cons after her work experience? I think her ideal next step would be a year out working as a therapy assistant. That way she will see nursing and medicine up close but will also be involved with all the therapies in a way that a health care assistant wouldn't be.

Pindlesandneedles Tue 29-May-18 18:19:23

Interesting choice. I work in health care but not in any of those jobs. However I do have friends who do nursing, physio and clinical psychology. Graduate entry medicine is a really long slog and it takes a lot to go back to being a student, not least financially.
My physio friends all loved the idea of treating young people but the reality is the jobs are in rehab for elderly people. Is this something your daughter would like to do?
My nursing friends describe their job as difficult and frustrating. They often feel the confines of the nhs make it difficult to do the job they want. However they’ve now introduced a course where you do physical health nursing and mental health nursing. Might be an interesting option if she’s interested in the psych side of things
My colleagues who are clinical psychologists seem to have more autonomy and work much more like doctors. Having their own patients, clinics deciding treatment plans... Some of the psychology courses have a year of clinical experience which really helps with getting a clinical job. Worth looking into! Also lots of private work as a clinical psychologist if earning potential is a factor!

Serin Tue 12-Jun-18 09:37:19

I did those A Levels and studied Occupational Therapy!
I love it!
Plenty of choice to specialise in whatever field takes your fancy, autonomy, real feeling that what you do makes a difference. Same pay and conditions as physio.

PinkCrystal Thu 14-Jun-18 12:49:04

Worth looking into other allied health professions too such as OT, SALT, prosthetics and orthotics, ODP etc

Tinseltower Thu 14-Jun-18 12:56:02

If she wants to be a physicians associate then I recommend doing nursing. I done psychology and I regret it. Some unis only look at your first degree and psychology isn’t on the list.

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