Nursing has among the most diverse pool of applications compared to other major undergraduate degrees, analysis released this week has shown.
Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) figures from 2019 has shown that nursing is among the subjects with the highest proportion of acceptances from the black ethnic group, at 19% – out of 30,390 students – compared to 8% across all degrees.
White male applicants remain in the minority, although the number applying for nursing grew by 8.5% to 5,370 in 2019. Nursing also continues to accept a high number of students aged over 30 at 29% of acceptances.
Chief nursing officer for NHS England Ruth May has urged people to apply for a nursing degree before this year’s 30 June deadline, highlighting that ‘the whole country is indebted’ to the work of ‘diverse frontline workers’.
Ms May continued: ‘If you have been inspired by their effort, there are nursing degree vacancies for the next academic year, so please come forward and begin your career in the NHS.’
Applications to nursing degrees are up by 6% with 45,430 applying by the 2020 January deadline, a rise from 43,630 at the same point in 2019 – but vacancies remain on courses.
Universities still have spots to fill on programmes across adult, mental health, child and learning disability nursing degrees, with some having up to 50 places available.
Health Education England chief nurse Professor Mark Radford said: ‘The expertise and flexibility of our nurses whilst working during the pandemic has shown you can deliver safe, quality, compassionate care to patients even when under unprecedented pressure.
‘They are a credit to our profession, and I would say don’t delay, don’t wait until clearing, apply today to train to become a nurse to make a difference to the lives of individuals, families, and communities across the country.’
The Government has also announced it would allocate an additional 5,000 places on nursing, midwifery, and allied health courses in England, if required, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, student nurses furiously reacted to minister for care Helen Whately suggesting they were not ‘deemed to be providing a service’.
Last week, Health Education England was forced to confirm it is not cutting paid placements shortly after outcry from student nurses and midwives on social media.