Is a Nursing Degree Hard?

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One of the most popular degrees in the UK is a nursing degree. However, there are lots of different things to consider when choosing your university course. First and foremost, you need to be sure you are genuinely going to enjoy the degree. Healthcare related degrees, such as medicine, dentistry and nursing, are notoriously competitive to get into and difficult to complete.

Generally speaking, nursing degrees are considered to be one of the hardest courses available. The course will involve plenty of exams, assignments and essays, making it academically challenging. You will also be on placements regularly, getting experience in the workplace. These shifts can be long and tiring. However, everyone will have a different experience during the degree. If you are organised and motivated, you may not find it to be a hard course, but instead a great learning opportunity as you train to help patients.

Disclaimer: This article is based off the opinions of one writer. The opinions expressed in this article may differ from your own. Everyone will find the difficulty of a specific course different to each other. This article only aims to give you an idea of how hard a nursing degree is.

Keep reading to find out plenty more information about what a nursing degree involves, and whether it might be the best path for you.

How hard is a nursing degree in the UK?

As with all healthcare degrees, nursing degrees are difficult, and require a lot of motivation and hard work to complete. However, they can also be incredibly rewarding, and give you a lifelong career.

For this reason, nursing is one of the most popular degrees in the UK. Check out this article from Think Student for more information on this. Unfortunately, this makes it more competitive to get into.

Despite this, if you are sure you want to do nursing, it is always worth applying – they can’t give you a place if you don’t give it a go!

Once you’ve secured a place, the degree itself is also challenging. Many people underestimate how much work the degree involves, so it is a shock for them when they start the course.

This article from has advice from a nurse about what she wished she’d known before starting her degree. It’s always helpful to do your research before applying, so you know what to expect.

As with almost all degrees, there will be various exams and assignments throughout the course. As a nursing student, you will need to develop your organisational skills to balance this along with placements, independent study and any extracurriculars you want to take part in.

However, at the end of the day, the nursing degree provides you with the best training to become a fully qualified, working nurse. Even though it can be hard at times, it can equally be really rewarding, and the hard work pays off.

Is a mental health nursing degree hard?

Although nursing degrees involve similar modules and skills, there are actually four different types. These are: adult nursing, children’s nursing, learning disabilities nursing, and mental health nursing.

Mental health nursing is considered by some to be the most difficult of these types. It is a job that requires enthusiasm, patience and commitment.

However, different types of nursing will suit different people. This link from the website contains lots of advice from a qualified mental health nurse. This might help decide whether mental health nursing is the route most suited to you.

Some universities offer dual courses, where you study two of the four specialties at once. This could be the best option if you are undecided about which area to study in.

Can you become a nurse without a degree?

Unfortunately, if you want to become a nurse, you will need to complete a nursing degree. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be studying at university for several years before you can go into the nursing profession. There are actually multiple ways to get a nursing degree.

The first way is the more traditional route of applying to university and undertaking a degree course there. However, even during the course of the degree, you will still be able to help patients as you go on placements.

Have a look at this page from the UCAS website for information about what a nursing degree involves.

Another possible way to get this degree is by completing a degree apprenticeship. This will allow you to get your nursing degree, alongside working and getting paid in the role of a nurse. It can be a great way to get practical experience, an accredited degree, and an income – all at the same time!

Check out this page of the government website for help finding a degree apprenticeship near you.

You could also consider becoming a nursing associate. Although this isn’t a fully qualified nursing job, you will be working alongside nurses in a similar role. For this job, you only need a foundation degree. This is quicker to complete than a standard nursing degree.

For more information about all the qualifications needed to become a nurse, check out this Think Student article.

How long is a nursing degree?

The most common length of a nursing degree is three years. This is the same as a standard undergraduate degree – three years of full-time study at a university, after which you are awarded a degree.

However, this is not true of all courses. For example, you may have the option to study part-time, perhaps alongside a job you have. In this case, the degree will take longer to complete – usually 4 years.

Additionally, if you are studying for a dual award degree as mentioned above, the course will take longer (typically 4 years). This is because there is more content to cover, and skills to develop, because you are specialising in two areas rather than one.

On the other hand, it is possible for a nursing degree to only take two years. If you already have an undergraduate degree in a related subject, you may be eligible for a graduate course. This usually only takes two years.

Alternatively, you could do a foundation degree and become a nursing associate. This course also takes about two years to complete.

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