THERE has never been so many different ways to become a nurse - and the routes are ever-increasing in number.

Juliet Borwell is the lead for learning environments and professional development and says people are able to choose their own pace which best suits their circumstances.

“We work in partnership with two universities for the student nursing training,” she said. “The first is Bournemouth University which offers a three-year fulltime programme.

“Student nurses are required to complete a certain number of clinical experiences and we provide acute hospital placements as part of that for adult and children and young people fields of nursing.

“The other one is the Open University which offers a part-time programme. It is a more vocational route and is generally for existing nursing assistants who are already working with us and want to further their careers.“The entry requirements are slightly different between the universities.”

Today, a degree in nursing is required to be a registered nurse, and for every university course, applicants must have an absolute minimum of GCSE Maths and English A to C or the Key Skills equivalent, which is Level 2.

Other entry criteria vary between the different universities.

If you don’t have these essential requirements, there are places in Salisbury like Learn Direct and Wiltshire College, which supports people to achieve Level 2.

The hospital also offers the Level 2 Clinical Healthcare Support apprenticeship and it has recently begun offering a Level 3 Qualification Credit Framework (QCF - the new term for NVQ).

“We’ve just started conversations with local organisations and Bournemouth University to do a bridging programme which would enable people with a relevant Level 3 qualification to get an automatic interview at university,” Juliet said.

“We work with Solent University for the foundation degree in Health and Social Care - if you don’t have A-levels to go directly into university, this is one of the pathways but at some point you will need to have a degree.

“We are keen to support people on an individual basis and go at their pace and do what we can to help them grow.”

Nursing is a team effort and Juliet says it is “still a calling”

for individuals. “You have to be committed and have the right values to come into nursing,” she said.”It’s sometimes perceived as easy, it isn’t.

“You have to want to care for people and make a difference every time, every single day. It is a very exciting career and we see a wide variety of people coming forward of all nationalities, both male and female - probably ten per cent of applicants are male.

"We have school leavers as well as people wanting a career change.

"We can support a huge variety of people and the careers that nursing offers are growing all the time. We are seeing nurses at the interface with medicine and there are lots of exciting developments coming.”