Training to be a nurse in the UK is a popular and fast-growing option for many people of wide age-ranges. While the majority of nurses are trained at University, the UK Government does not charge full tuition fees for those going into nursing and midwifery, and provides bursaries to help with the costs of training. There are nursing colleges and schools throughout the UK, some attached to universities, and as the demand for nurses grows, the demand for places on these courses will grow too.
The growing interest in nursing as a career comes from the shift in medical focus from treatment and cure to prevention and community care providing more and more career opportunities through nursing. It also comes from the shift in modern living meaning that people do not settle immediately for just one career: whereas in the past careers tended to run from apprenticeship to retirement, today many people choose to switch careers mid-way through their working lives and nursing is an increasingly popular option. This is also an attraction for people looking to gain transferrable skills: there are many career paths through nursing, and training provided for advancement that can also translate extremely well into the business world, such as excellent practical and managerial skills. Nursing and the medical profession also puts a great emphasis on communication skills, again highly transferable.
Another attraction for people looking to train, or retrain, as nurses is that the salaries are rising and competitive, with nurse executive directors often earning in excess of £40,000 in smaller hospitals.