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England’s chief nurse tells A-level students ‘your NHS needs you’

Ruth May urges those who will be weighing up degree courses to consider a career in nursing 
Picture of England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May, who will tell A-level students ‘your NHS needs you’ in a bid to encourage them join the nursing profession. Picture: John Houlihan

Ruth May urges those who will be weighing up degree courses to consider a career in nursing

Englands chief nursing officer Ruth May has told A-level students your NHS needs you in a bid to encourage them to join the nursing profession.

Ms Mays call to students, who will get their results on 13 August, is part of NHS Englands ongoing recruitment campaign We Are the NHS.

Her aim is to target the estimated 80,000 students who will be part of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) clearing process, which offers available places on degree courses for those who want to change their post A-level plans.

Ruth May urges those who will be weighing up degree courses to consider a career in nursing   

 John Houlihan
Ruth May: ‘Nursing will always offer a rewarding and varied career’ Picture: John Houlihan 

England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May has told A-level students ‘your NHS needs you’ in a bid to encourage them to join the nursing profession.

Ms May’s call to students, who will get their results on 13 August, is part of NHS England’s ongoing recruitment campaign We Are the NHS.

Her aim is to target the estimated 80,000 students who will be part of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) clearing process, which offers available places on degree courses for those who want to change their post A-level plans.

‘The country and the NHS will always need nurses’

In a statement, Ms May highlighted job security as a benefit of a nursing career.

‘Uncertain times lay ahead, but one thing we can be sure of is that the country and the NHS will always need nurses, and that nursing will always offer a rewarding and varied career – making it a strong choice for any young people considering their options,’ she said.

The campaign also emphasises the new university grants of between £5,000 and £8,000 per year for nursing students, and the starting salary of £24,900 upon graduating.

NHS England’s call to students comes after nurses across the UK took to the streets on 8 August demanding a pay rise from the government.

Attracting the nurses of the future

The most recent UCAS data show that applications for undergraduate nursing courses in England have risen 16% to 47,320 in 2020, up from 40,780 the year before.

But despite the rise, applications are still 16.7% lower than in 2016, the last year the bursary was available to nursing students in England before it was scrapped by the Conservative government in 2017.

RCN’s director for England Mike Adams welcomed the campaign but added that self-funded tuition fees should be abolished to encourage people into the profession.

‘Nursing is a wonderfully rewarding career, but we need to see more done to attract the nurses of the future,’ he said.


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