New Era for Nurse Training Courses

BCU000000-572Back in September 2008, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) ratified proposals to make nursing an all-graduate profession. As a result of their decision, universities who offer qualifications at diploma level will be phasing out these courses over the next couple of years. All nurse training courses will be offered at degree level from September 2013.


When is Birmingham City University phasing out its pre-registration nursing diploma?

Birmingham City University is already in the process of phasing out our nursing diploma qualifications. The children’s nursing branch of the diploma course will cease to be offered after April 2010, and the other branches (adult, mental health and learning disabilities nursing) will not be offered again after the final intake in April 2011.


Does Birmingham City University offer a pre-registration nursing degree?

Yes. The University already has a well-established nursing degree course  which offers training in all four branch specialisms and this course continues to go from strength to strength, providing students with the knowledge and skills they need in order to succeed in becoming a qualified nurse.

How could this change affect me?

Some prospective students who may have been considering the diploma course as a future option might be wondering about how this change will affect them. For those who aren’t able to secure a place on a diploma course before they stop being offered, this will mean that they may need to study for further qualifications if they want to train to be a nurse at degree level. This very much depends on the qualifications they already have and whether these are sufficient for entry onto a particular degree.


I’d like to apply for a diploma course that’s still being offered. What should I do?

Competition for places on remaining intakes for diploma courses could be fierce, as there are more applicants who have qualifications which can be considered for the diploma level qualification than there are for the degree where higher level qualifications are often required for entry. As with any case of supply and demand, where demand outstrips supply competition for places can increase considerably. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that you:

  • Apply early. For courses commencing in 2011, on-time applications must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) between 1st September and 15th January.
  • Have a well-considered application that demonstrates your strengths as a candidate for the particular branch of nursing you are applying for.
  • Include relevant information about experience gained which shows skills and abilities you have which are directly relevant to those needed in nursing, eg communication, team-working, empathy, etc.
  • Prepare thoroughly if you are invited for an interview. Research both the area of nursing and the course you have applied for and be prepared to talk about your reasons for choosing nursing and the university, amongst other things, at interview. See our feature about interviews for more more hints and tips.

With proper planning and preparation, you can strengthen your chances of securing a place on a course.


What should I do if I don’t get a place on the diploma and then need to consider applying for a degree course?

The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not you have the right qualifications for a degree. Entry requirements for degree courses are generally higher than they are for diploma course, so you’ll need to find out what qualifications you would need if you decide to look at degree level study. University prospectuses and websites contain this information under the course listing, so you should be able to determine whether or not you already have the right qualifications and grades.

If you do, that’s great – you can make an application for the degree course through UCAS.  You should endeavour to apply as an on-time applicant between 1st September and 15th January.

If you find that your qualifications don’t meet the entry requirements for the degree, don’t throw the towel in – there are plenty of other options you may be able to look at to help you gain the qualifications you need! Many students who ultimately gained entry onto our degree course have done so after embarking on further study to meet the entry requirements. Get in touch with the university to find out what you can do next.


Further advice for prospective Birmingham City University applicants

For students who would like further advice and information about entry requirements for Birmingham City University’s degree in nursing course, please contact our dedicated course information and guidance centre, Choices, for more help. You can call us on 0121 331 5595 or contact us by email.

The University will also be holding Open Days for prospective students on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th June 2010. These are an ideal opportunity to find out more about studying at Birmingham City University and exploring your course options, with expert advice from academic staff who will be on hand on the day. If you’re interested in attending, please pre-register via the University’s website.

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