COVID-19 pandemic sparks a surge in numbers of students applying for nursing

New UCAS figures have shown record numbers have applied to study nursing at universities across the UK during the pandemic. 

According to statistics from the university admissions service, the number of applications for nursing courses have risen by almost a third (32%). UCAS chief executive, Clare Marchant, says this is due to “inspiring stories” from wards over the past year.

The figures show that the number of EU applicants to all subjects at UK universities has fallen by 40% in the past year. 

But for nursing courses, the number of UK school-leavers applying for nursing increased by 27% from last year to a record of 16,560. 

Head of Division of Operating Department Practice and Paramedic Science at The University of Huddersfield (Allied Health Professions), Lynda Dunn, said: “We have seen an increase in admissions across all the health courses.

“People have been inspired by how nursing professionals have pulled together to manage the pandemic. They feel like they want to help and do that too.”

Last year, the government introduced bursaries of at least £5,000 per year for health courses such as nursing and midwifery and allied health professional students.   

The government promises they are another step closer to delivering 50,000 more nurses for the NHS.

Care Minister Helen Whately told the BBC: “These figures are a testament to the work of Health Education England and Ucas in highlighting nursing as a rewarding and accessible career path.”

The last year of economic turmoil due to the current pandemic has seen thousands of students looking to apply for ‘safer’ career paths, such as medicine and dentistry, rather than language and philosophy courses. 

Other subjects that have seen a growth in popularity include sports science, veterinary science and education. 

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