Now England’s chief nurse is calling on young adults – dubbed the ‘Covid Generation’ due to the long term impact the virus is likely to have on their lives – to not just clap for carers, but to become one.
Interest is already high; the number of young men who have applied for nursing degrees already is the highest for five years.
They are among more than 17,000 young people (20 and under) living in England that had applied to join a nursing degree course by 30 June – up around a sixth on 2018.
The figures, from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), show a surge in applications for nursing degrees amongst all ages across the UK — up by 16 per cent year-on-year to 47,320 by the end of June – with the increase attributed to the ‘leading role’ nurses have played in the country’s response to COVID-19.
With thousands of degree places available at dozens of universities across the country, grants between £5,000 and £8,000 per year available, starting salaries of £24,900 and no shortage of jobs when qualified, the NHS is seeking to highlight nursing as a strong career choice in ‘uncertain times’.
As part of the successful We Are The NHS campaign, NHS England will be intensifying its targeting of those getting their A-Levels tomorrow, with direct emails to 50,000 people and ads on social media appealing to those entering the clearing system to apply for nursing degrees.
The campaign will encourage those going through clearing to search ‘Nursing Careers’ to find out more about the huge opportunities offered in modern nursing.
This year an estimated 80,000 students are expected to be part of the UCAS clearing process, which offers available places on degree courses for those who want to change their post A-Level plans for whatever reason.
Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “The last six months has seen nurses and midwives play a leading role in the fight against coronavirus, cementing the high esteem they are held in by the nation, so it’s no surprise that interest in nursing degrees is already high.
“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 tomorrow.
“Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is found the NHS will still need all the staff it can get to help deliver on our Long Term Plan to save more lives and improve the country’s health.”
The NHS People Plan, recently updated with actions for the coming months, sets out the ambition to recruit and retain thousands more nurses alongside the other clinical staff the health service needs – with measures including more flexible working and wellbeing support aimed at supporting staff and making the NHS the best place to work.
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