How to find the best nursing apprenticeships

The world’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale, once said, “Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses… we must be learning all of our lives.” It’s true, as there are a host of training opportunities in the world of nursing to help you lead a diverse and exciting long-term career. As a nurse, you’ll have a direct positive impact on the patients you care for, helping bring joy and happiness to their day. How rewarding is that?!

Take a look at the best apprenticeships in nursing below and find the programme that best suits your aspirations. 

Jobs in nursing

NHS nurse

Think that nurses only work in hospitals? Nope! While you could be placed in hospital wards and operating theatres, you’ll also visit places in the community like patients’ homes. You’ll work in a larger team and you can pursue learning and development opportunities to specialise in caring for babies, mental health patients, trauma patients and many other types of people. 


Midwives are the number one point of contact during pregnancy, labour, birth and post-natal aftercare. As well as providing medical care for the mum and baby through examinations, you’ll also offer general and emotional support, such as showing patients how to bathe, feed and care for their newborns. Oh – and you don’t have to be a woman to be a midwife!

Nurse anaesthetist

Have you ever broken a bone, visited the hospital and – boom! – it doesn’t hurt anymore? The person working the magic is often a nurse anaesthetist. They’re responsible for creating an anaesthesia care plan and administering the correct medications before surgery or other procedures. In this role, you’ll work with a bigger anaesthetist team that might include surgeons, doctors and senior consultants. 

Mental health nurse 

If you are passionate about caring for people who are struggling with mental health difficulties, this is the right role for you. You’ll help patients take their medication correctly, support them through therapies and assist with their physical well-being to ensure they are safe. As with most other nursing jobs, you might be based in psychiatric wards/mental health units or in the community. 

Surgical nurse

It goes without saying that the operating theatre is an extremely high-pressure environment, which is why you’ll need exceptional teamwork and communication skills to succeed as a surgical nurse. You’ll help the surgeons in the operating room and also support patients with preparation and recovery. 

Nursing apprenticeships


The most popular choice for nursing apprenticeships is the NHS. It’s a rewarding and reliable option that will likely guarantee you a permanent job at the end. Check online for the entry requirements and details, then speak to your school about how to submit an application. Here are a few nursing-related apprenticeships in the NHS right now:

  • Dental Nursing (Level 3)
  • Maternity Support Worker (Levels 2 and 3)
  • Nursing Associate (Level 5)
  • Registered Nursing Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6)
  • Operating Department Practice Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6)

The Open University

At the end of The Open University’s 3-year Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship, you’ll earn a BSc (Hons) Nursing degree and you’ll be registered with the NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council). The entry requirements include GCSEs in English and Maths at grade 4 or above, and there are two start dates per year in February and October. 

Spire Healthcare

Spire Healthcare is one of the UK’s biggest private healthcare providers. During the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship, you’ll split your time between the University of Sunderland and one of Spire’s 39 regional hospitals. Just like NHS apprenticeships, this one is fully funded by the provider. 


Private healthcare provider Bupa has two nursing apprenticeships on offer: Dental Nursing (Level 3) and Health Care Assistant (Level 2). The pass rate for Bupa apprenticeships is an awesome 80% and the courses take up to 18 months to complete. 

Nuffield Health

Here’s another private healthcare opportunity. You can complete apprenticeships like Trainee Nurse Associate and Operational Department Practitioner with Nuffield Health. Last year, Nuffield promoted 64% of their apprentices into full time roles, so you’ll have a great chance to secure a job after. 

Entry requirements

As with most apprenticeships, nursing opportunities often require GCSEs in English, Maths and Science at grade 4 or above. Success in a nursing career is about your personal skills as much as your technical knowledge. The patients you help will be frightened, distressed or upset at times, and it’s your job to help them feel as comfortable and happy as possible during their treatment.

Great communication and empathy are essential to ensure you convey information clearly to patients and colleagues, and confident decision-making and problem-solving skills will serve you well during high-pressure times. 

Extra tips

There are four different disciplines in nursing: adult, paediatric (children), mental health and learning disabilities. During an apprenticeship programme, you’ll probably gain exposure to each one as you spend time with different departments. It’s okay if you prefer one discipline over another, but throughout the learning stage it’s critical that you remain eager and open to work with all different types of patients – there’s no such thing as too much knowledge or experience!

When you’ve completed the apprenticeship, you’ll have the opportunity to speak to your placement supervisor or workplace manager about which discipline you’d prefer to pursue. 

Enjoy the reward of caring for others during a nursing apprenticeship

Nurses have some of the most diverse careers possible and no two days are the same. Don’t forget that nursing is an internationally recognised career, so there’s even the chance for you to work abroad in the future if you’ve got the travel bug. 

Take the first step to a fulfilling career and start a nursing apprenticeship today. Or, check out what’s on in other industries like hospitality, sports and science instead.