15 August 2019

NHS calls on A-level students to join the NHS

As around 3,300 students in East Sussex get their A-level results, NHS leaders are calling on young people to consider a career in nursing.

The NHS has worked with universities to offer more than 7,000 extra nursing places in higher education from September, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to build a workforce for the future of the health service and supported by its successful ‘We are the NHS recruitment campaign’.

The NHS is one of the top ten employers in the world, offering around 350 roles, employing more than 1.3 million people, and caring for around one million patients every day. Tens of thousands of students will call the UCAS clearing line over the next few days to secure a place at a different university to the one they originally chose and in some cases, will change career paths.

Over 60,000 students secured a place through the clearing last year and Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, is urging people at a crossroads to join the health service.

As well as nursing, a career in the NHS can then lead to other roles including psychiatrist, lab technician, physio, paramedic, scientist, GP, surgeon, anaesthetist and over 300 more.

Vikiki Carruth, Director of Nursing at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said: “I’ve had a fantastic career as a nurse and have worked with some amazing colleagues including midwives, therapists and huge range of other vital clinical and non-clinical roles. I’ve worked in some amazing places, have had amazing opportunities and have experienced so much of life throughout my career whilst caring for people. We offer so much as carers and clinical leaders in such a diverse range of roles. I believe that the training we provide to our nurses and other healthcare workers is the best in the world and once qualified, the career opportunities on offer are huge. I have no hesitation in recommending healthcare and the NHS to anyone who’s thinking about pursuing such a worthwhile and rewarding career – one that brings out your best qualities whilst caring for others”.  

Ruth May, Chief nursing officer for England said: “The NHS is a fantastic employer with a huge range of career options available and ones you might not have considered before and offering great opportunities to work with lots of different people every day and help them when they need it the most. It’s a hugely rewarding career and an exciting time to join as we deliver our Long Term Plan, which will positively impact the health and wellbeing of thousands of people. There are also a range of non-clinical roles and anyone considering a change in career direction should seriously consider working in our NHS, which offers students more than simply a first job out of university; we give people a career and a sense of community that stays for life.”

The call on students to pick a career in the NHS comes as the NHS launches the next stage of the ‘We are the NHS campaign’ – the largest ever jobs drive of its kind, helping to bring in a workforce to support delivery of Long Term Plan commitments like speeding up diagnosis of killer conditions, expanding world class mental health services and introducing cutting edge treatments like proton beam therapy for cancer. Launching last year, the campaign has resulted in a 4.5% increase in nursing applications, including a 9% rise in male nursing applicants as well as the number of 18 year olds applying going up by a fifth. The campaign will encourage those going through clearing to ‘Search Nursing Careers’ to find out more about the huge opportunities offered in modern nursing.

 Nikki Kanani, Acting director of primary care for the NHS said: “Joining the NHS was the best career decision I ever made and every single day being part of this amazing community that makes incredible things happen gives me a sense of pride I couldn’t get working anywhere else. To all students considering their options I say this, the NHS is ready to welcome you into our community with open arms.”

The health service is also running programmes focussed on developing Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and getting them into senior leadership positions, helping make sure that the NHS is increasingly representative of the wider community. 

Yvonne Coghill, Director of workforce race equality for the NHS said: “The NHS prides itself on being the most diverse organisation in the country.  We are lucky enough to have members of staff from all over the globe helping to make our NHS world class. We are very proud of the NHS and how it truly reflects the people we serve. No matter your background, when you join the NHS, you become part of the biggest and in my opinion the best organisation in the world.”