How to Become a Registered Nurse in the UK

Female Nurse

The nursing profession is highly sought-after in the United Kingdom, presenting an appealing career option for individuals aspiring to work in the healthcare field. Given the advancements in medical practices and technology, it is now crucial for nurses to hold proper qualifications and registration in order to practise in the UK. The year 2022 witnessed a remarkable surge in registered nurse vacancies, exceeding 40,000. Undoubtedly, nursing is a fulfilling occupation that demands unwavering dedication and commitment. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the process of becoming a registered nurse in the UK, exploring the associated responsibilities and roles within the UK healthcare system. Join us as we provide invaluable insights into embarking on this rewarding career path.


nurse talking with patient


Understanding the Role of a Registered Nurse


Registered nurses in the UK are on the front lines of the healthcare system, handling multiple responsibilities and providing care to patients responsibly. Their duties include accessing a patient’s condition, developing individual care plans, and monitoring the patient’s health. Well, the role of a nurse is not just limited to overseeing the condition but is also involved in providing considerable emotional support to the families and communicating with the staff members. Nursing is a profession that can bring a great deal of fulfilment and make a difference in others’ lives.


Beautiful nurse standing

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Education and Academic Requirements


To become a nurse, you will have to meet the basic eligibility criteria. You will need to have a degree in nursing and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC in the UK). You will have four options for nursing specialisations to choose from, and the options may be adult, children, mental health, or learning disabilities.


For an entry requirement or an undergraduate programme, you will need a minimum of five GSEs at grade 4/c or above. You should also possess two A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications to be eligible for an undergraduate programme to become a nurse in the UK. There are certain universities that may have requirements for three A levels. It is suggested that you check the website of the particular college you are preparing for.


Choosing the Right Nursing Programme


There are four options for specialisation, and you can pursue your Bachelor’s degree as per the interest of your choice. Choosing the right nursing programme is the key to a successful career in the nursing community. Before you enrol for the course, make sure you do your research well and compare all the colleges around. You may consider the following factors as the basis for your analysis to get help picking the right programme to start off your career right.


  • Programme Structure and Learning Styles – Different nursing programmes are designed differently in terms of learning styles and guidance approaches. Keep your learning goals and commitment in mind to define your needs and make the right selection.


  • Accreditation – The college name will be associated with you for the rest of your professional life. You cannot risk studying at a college/ university that is not accredited. You may even ask the OET coaching centre to help you with suggestions and select the right institution for your studies.


  • Rankings and Placement Opportunities – Check the rankings of the college at the world level and do research to identify the placement opportunities the institute offers. If you are an outstation student, you should take your time to understand the OET exam format for a better understanding and approach to the exam.

Application Process and Admission Requirements


With more than 80 universities offering programmes in nursing, the UK is one of the most sought-after picks for studying nursing among International students. The process of applying is quite simple and straightforward, given that you have all the necessary documents. The University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and Cardiff University are among the top universities providing the programme.


Make sure you have the necessary academic transcripts and English proficiency test scores in order to be eligible for the test. While most candidates meet the minimum score criteria, students often get puzzled by personal statements and the interview part. It is advisable to prepare your personal statement properly. Ensure that it highlights your goals and shows how committed you are as an individual. During the interview, you must highlight your aspirations and knowledge of the industry, showing why you are the right fit for the nursing profession.


Nurse on Duty

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Nursing Degree Curriculum and Training


The nursing course in the UK is designed to help students develop clinical skills throughout the course. The Bachelor’s programmes are aimed at guiding students about the various aspects of nursing, which may include topics such as physiology, psychology, anatomy, medical-surging nursing, obstetric nursing, paediatric nursing, community health, and more. Make sure you choose a course that offers the ideal amount of theoretical knowledge and practical skill development. Healthcare is undoubtedly a profession that requires a blend of practical skills and a theoretical understanding of concepts. Both are necessary for overall development and will boost your career in the nursing sector.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Registration


In the UK, nurses and midwives are governed and represented by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The NMC aims to identify nurses who are qualified and whose practice is in accordance with the guidelines. The NMC in the UK regulates over 661,000 registered nurses and midwives and also provides them with the necessary guidance and training to improve the quality of care.


Here are the details of the information you would require to successfully register for NMC.


  • Provide complete details of your training, including the title and date on which it was awarded
  • Personal qualification details, including name, contact, and email address
  • Scanned copy of your qualification certificates
  • Details of previous professional registration or previous name, if any


The association made changes to the English proficiency requirement, which came into effect in February 2023. The present English language competence requirement is as follows:


  • OET Test – B in Listening and B in Reading
  • IELTS – 7.0 in Listening and 7.0 in Reading


Look for the best OET course in India to prepare yourself and become aware of the exam format.

Completing the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)


In the UK, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is implemented to evaluate the competency of nurses and midwives. This objective, structured test is administered when they first enter the profession, allowing professionals to assess whether these new entrants have the relevant skills and knowledge to enter the profession.


The test has been designed to assess and evaluate the following 10 stations:


  • Four stations are designed around a scenario: the APIE (assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation)
  • Four stations to test skills (two pairs of two skills)
  • The remaining two stations aim at evaluating the candidate’s values and behaviours


Here are some of the tips that you must keep in mind to improve your chances of success in the



  • Take time to go through the previous OSCEs. However, you should not let it impact your preparation for the coming exam.
  • Watch OSCE videos on YouTube or enrol in an institute that teaches how to prepare for the test.
  • Believe you are a healthcare professional and practise accordingly. You may ask any of your friends or seniors to act as an examiner and judge your abilities.
  • Make full use of reading time to prepare your answer to the given question.


You can attempt to give the OSCE three times, but there should be a gap of 10 days between each application.

Transitioning into the Nursing Profession


In the UK, registered nurses have a wide range of opportunities available. However, it is imperative for nurses to involve themselves in ongoing professional development and lifelong learning to improve their capabilities in the field. Newly qualified nurses can also enrol themselves in mentorship programmes to support their dreams and seamlessly transition into the nursing profession.


We hope this guide helps you understand the steps you should be following to become a registered nurse in the UK. Nursing is a rewarding career that provides an opportunity for aspiring practitioners to make a positive impact in the healthcare industry. Enrol yourself in the best OET coaching centre in India to improve your chances of making an excellent career in the field.


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