Applications to study for nursing degrees have leapt by almost a third, according to the latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
Many of the new applicants have been motivated to become nurses by the coronavirus pandemic but applications have also been boosted by the new Government funding, which provides student nurses at English universities with grants of between £5,000 and £8,000 a year.
Danielle Woods, lecturer in adult nursing at the University of Bradford – which has seen a 32% increase for courses from 2020 to 2021 – said: ‘We are seeing evidence that people are being motivated to pursue a career in nursing by the impact of the COVID pandemic to immediate and longer term health outcomes.’
Kevin Crimmons, Associate Professor and Head of the Dame Edith Cavell Department of Adult Nursing at Birmingham City University said: ‘Nurses have played a vital a role in the pandemic response. It’s encouraging to see this surge in applications, particularly in light of the government’s recent pledge to increase the number of registered NHS nurses by some 50,000 by 2025.’
Responding to the new figures, Professor Geraldine Walters CBE, Executive Director of Professional Practice for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: ‘I am pleased to see so many people inspired by the efforts of our nursing professionals during the coronavirus pandemic, and to have chosen to pursue a career in nursing.
‘Despite the incredibly challenging demands over the last 12 months, our nursing professionals and nursing students have demonstrated their vital role in providing the safe, kind, effective care that has undoubtedly saved lives.’