- 07 June 2023
- 14 min read
Get Into Nursing With The University Of Cumbria’s Free Return To Study ProgrammeSubscribe To Advice
Considering a nursing degree and not sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve had a break from education and need help getting back into things? Luckily, the University of Cumbria is now running a free Return to Study programme, giving you all you need to get onto a nursing degree.
Did you know that nursing has the highest employability rate of any degree subject in the UK? According to the NHS, 94% of nursing students get a job within 6 months of finishing their course.
What’s more, at the University of Cumbria, 97% of our general nursing students are in a graduate job or further study within 15 months of graduating (Guardian University Guide 2023). So, if you’re considering becoming a nurse, our free Return to Study programme can help you get there.
Why Choose A Career In Nursing?
More than just a job, nursing is an opportunity to help people at their most vulnerable and make a real difference in the lives of others. As a nurse, you can shape your own career by specialising in fields including mental health, adult or learning disabilities nursing, as well as work in a range of settings such as hospitals, GP surgeries, schools and prisons.
A UK nursing qualification is also recognised internationally, so you can even work overseas – the world is your oyster.
To qualify as a nurse, most people study for and obtain a nursing degree. But we understand that degree-level study can seem daunting, particularly if it’s been a while since you last stepped into a classroom.
That’s why we’ve created our free Return to Study programme, specifically designed to break down the academic jargon and equip you with the confidence, knowledge and skills needed to apply to university and succeed as a student on one of our nursing degrees.
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Free Return To Study Programme At The University of Cumbria
Completely free to attend, our Return to Study course will be delivered over seven evenings in July at our Lancaster or Carlisle campus, or over seven morning sessions at Furness College in Barrow.
This course is an exciting opportunity to delve into nursing with introductory teaching from our friendly tutors, gain a taste of university study, refresh your study skills, and decide whether a nursing degree is for you.
But don’t just take our word for it – hear from Fiona, who attended our Return to Study programme last year:
“I found the Return to Study course really beneficial, and a positive experience. The programme allowed me to meet staff and other potential students, and familiarise myself with academia, which included academic writing and referencing. The course tutors supported the group throughout their delivery of course content and always answered questions and signposted where appropriate.
The experience made me realise it was my time to apply and go forward with my dream to pursue adult nursing. The university staff were very welcoming and supportive, it felt very genuine as though we were wanted there as prospective future students. Without being cheesy, it was like I had met my own tribe.” (Fiona Simpson, first-year BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing student).
And, at the end of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for one of our nursing degrees – like Fiona, as well as Cecilia, who gained a place on our BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing after attending last year’s Return to Study programme:
“Initially, I was hesitant to return to studying due to time, funding, and family responsibilities. However, attending a free summer programme changed my mind. The course provided me with exposure and insight, giving me clarity on my desired path and enabling me to attain the entry requirement for the nursing degree.
The supportive environment and professional tutors made it an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in advancing their education. By the end of the course, I was digitally equipped, my academic writing had improved, and I was energised to embark on a journey of reaching what I had previously perceived as impossible.” (Cecilia Njoroge, first-year BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing student)
After The Course – Study Nursing At Cumbria
If you continue onto one of our nursing degrees, the Return to Study programme is just the beginning.
Nursing at the University of Cumbria is a dynamic, hands-on degree, focused on developing both your theoretical knowledge and practical skills. As such, half of the time on your course will be spent on placement, and half will be spent on theoretical learning.
The University of Cumbria’s location means you’ll have the unique opportunity to broaden your experience by working in both city and rural placement settings.
Meanwhile, the theoretical input will be delivered by expert teaching staff using a variety of teaching and learning approaches and will be based on the latest evidence and research.
I found the Return to Study course really beneficial, and a positive experience… It made me realise it was my time to apply and go forward with my dream to pursue adult nursing. The university staff were very welcoming and supportive.
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Dedicated Support For Students
Support and opportunities to develop your confidence won’t stop after the Return to Study programme ends. At the beginning of your degree, and throughout the course, you’ll continue to be supported by both the nursing team and our student support services.
We’re proud of our close-knit community of students and academics, which nursing student Cecilia has found to be a highlight of her time at Cumbria so far:
“I can genuinely say my expectations before coming to university have been exceeded. My experiences so far have been formed by the support this university offers. The teaching team have excellent ways of delivering lectures. Their approach is fun and engaging.
In my opinion everyone seems to know why we are here, and we are building relationships, not to mention some of them were formed during the Return to Study course.” (Cecilia Njoroge, first-year BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing student)
Gain Confidence Through Placements & Simulations
Naturally, you won’t have the skills and confidence to apply what you learn in class to real-life clinical scenarios straight away. As well as the real-world experience you’ll gain on placement, you will develop your confidence and practical skills in mock ‘real-world’ settings, using our dedicated simulation facilities.
These include mock hospital wards, simulated home spaces, and our brand-new immersion room. One of our third-year nursing students, Aliyah, said this about her experience on the course:
“When I first started at this university, it was daunting as I had never worked within a healthcare setting and had no experience of what to expect and do. However, the university made this a lot easier for people like me. I was given the opportunity to develop my practical core skills in the simulation suite, which felt surreal. This allowed me to play around and get used to the medical equipment without being thrown into the deep end straight away with no clinical experience.
Being able to have clinical skills days during our theoretical learning was amazing as the university combined our classes with gaining hands-on experiences in the simulation labs. This allowed me to be ready to begin my nursing journey on the ward in real life, as I was well prepared in the clinical labs. If it wasn’t for the simulation suite, I would have really struggled. But the university really prepared me practically and through theory!” (Aliyah Patel, third-year BSc (Hons) Children’s Nursing student)
But what is it like to join one of our nursing degrees as an older student, returning to study after a break from the academic world?
I can genuinely say my expectations before coming to university have been exceeded. My experiences so far have been formed by the support this university offers. The teaching team have excellent ways of delivering lectures. Their approach is fun and engaging.
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Daily Life As A Mature Nursing Student
Thea Weston, a first-year nursing student, joined Cumbria to pursue a new career path after taking time out from education. As a mature student, she juggles family responsibilities alongside her degree, but the challenge is more than worth it.
Here, Thea reflects on her decision to return to study, and what daily life is like as a mature nursing student:
“I remember someone told me I would make a great nurse one day. I actively avoided anything pursuing nursing or the healthcare profession. It was just something I could not see myself doing. Yet, after my own experiences providing end-of-life care to my terminally ill mother-in-law, I find myself, amazingly, coming toward the end of my first year of studying adult nursing.
I knew that much of the course would be hands-on, which appealed to me. All my previous jobs have involved being on my feet all day. I could never stand the thought of being chained to a desk! It was during my first placement that I fell in love with nursing. No two days were the same.
I would help healthcare assistants with breakfast and personal care and assist my practice assessor with medication rounds. This was where I could start to get to know the patients being cared for and gain an understanding of medication and conditions. I began to apply the theory I was learning in class and put it into practice. Which, before placement, didn’t make a lot of sense! I finally went from injections in a rubber arm to a real arm. Possibly one of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life. Thankfully, my practice assessor and patient were hugely patient and supportive of me.
As I began to gain confidence in what I was learning, imposter syndrome would kick in. I would question absolutely everything and feel I wasn’t good enough to fit the high standard of nursing. The one thing that reassured me was the registered nurses who stood alongside my learning and explained that as nurses we will always be learning.
We will never be a finished product which gives me determination as a mature student. I can do this! I want to be a part of the solution.
Yes, it is hard work as I balance many things in life. I must plan when I’ll be on placement, when I have time to write assignments, look over learning materials for future lessons, keep a house clean, don't let my husband starve, run a youth group for my local church, stop a crazy 2-year-old retriever from eating my house and making sure my family is herded. The list is endless.
There will never be a good time to do something, but I am so glad I have taken this step now. As are many others like me!” (Thea Weston, first-year BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing student)
As a mature student progressing to one of our nursing degrees, you might also find yourself juggling additional financial responsibilities, particularly if you have a family. However, a range of funding options are available, including NHS funding.
NHS Funding for Your Nursing Degree
If you are a UK student on one of our nursing degree courses, your funding options will include support from the NHS Learning Support Fund, which provides £5,000 per year, or £6,000 per year if you specialise in mental health nursing.
If you are a parent or guardian of a child aged under 15 (or under 17 if registered with special educational needs), an additional £2,000 per year is available to cover child support.
You can also receive money back for excess travel and temporary accommodation costs while you’re on your practice placement. This funding is not means-tested. The NHS Exceptional Support Fund is available as well for eligible students experiencing financial hardship.
A range of other bursaries, grants and scholarships may also be available to you from the University of Cumbria. Find out more on our website.
Book Your Return to Study Place
With excellent career prospects, a range of degree funding options, and our nurturing university environment, joining our Return to Study programme is the perfect next step towards achieving your goals.
We have limited places available at each campus, so don’t miss out – book your place now.