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How to become a nurse practitioner in the UK

Nurses are valued healthcare professionals. Nurses may work independently or as part of a larger healthcare team. To become a nurse, a good standard of education is required. Once an individual has completed their nurse practitioner degree, they can find work in the NHS or in private practice. Learn more about how to become a nurse practitioner in the UK.


To become a nurse practitioner, an individual requires the following skills:
Excellent people skills Practitioner nurses are required to care for people of all backgrounds and ages.
Good communication and observation

Nurses must be good listeners and be aware of any changes in patients’ conditions. An ability to share knowledge and skills Nurses need to share their knowledge and skills with their patients and their patients’ carers.
An ability to work as part of a team Nurses need to be able to work as part of a large, multi-disciplinary team, comprising doctors, pharmacists, secretarial staff and many other professionals. An ability to stay calm in emotionally charged situations

Nurses must keep a calm head in a crisis and be able to put patients at ease.

Entry requirements for nursing

To work as a nurse in the NHS, it is essential for an individual to hold a degree in nursing. Once a student has completed their degree, they can register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). To study for a degree, around five GCSE passes will be required and two A levels. All applicants must demonstrate high levels of literacy and numeracy and be of good character.

Branches of nursing

Pre-registration nursing degree programmes are offered in four different branches of nursing: adult nursing, paediatric nursing, learning disability nursing, and mental health nursing. A prospective nurse must decide on the branch they wish to train for before choosing their course.

Nurse education

All nursing degrees consist of Common Foundation Programmes (CFP). These programmes provide students with the knowledge and skills they require, regardless of the branch of nursing they have chosen. CFP last for one year. Following the CFP, an individual will be able to specialise in their chosen area. Specialist training will take place over two years, meaning that a nursing degree will take three years to complete if studied full-time. It is possible to study nursing part-time, should a student choose to do this. A pre-registration nursing degree comprises of both theoretical nursing knowledge and supervised nursing practice. Supervised nursing practice makes up 50 per cent of the programme and is conducted in a suitable work environment.

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