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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Course Info: Nursing and Midwifery

If you feel passion for helping others, Hotcourses Abroad gives you a guide to these rewarding professions.

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Are you looking for a career where you can offer care and support to people in need? You might want to consider nursing or midwifery. Find out why these courses are so popular among international students using the guide below.



Why study nursing?

A highly demanding yet uniquely rewarding profession, nurses help and support people experiencing health problems in addition to working closely with doctors and other health professionals. Nursing is a highly respected occupation around the world and there is always high demand for health and medicine providers.


In February 2020, there were 698,237 registered nurses and midwives in the UK and 94% found work within six months of graduating. The skills acquired through a nursing degree are also highly transferrable to other health-related careers. For example, critical-thinking, problem-solving skills and ethics are all key attributes of any nursing professional which are desirable qualities for any job.


How to become a nurse

In most countries you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing before working in a hospital. This will typically take 3-4 years to complete. Bachelor’s degrees allow graduates to work in a variety of clinical contexts and apply for a nursing registration. Nursing graduates have higher levels of technical and clinical decision-making skills. During their studies, students can choose their specialisation. Some of these are as follows:

  • Adult nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Paediatric health
  • Learning disabilities


At the end of the programme, students usually have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practice at local hospitals. In some universities, such practice also counts as a part of the degree.


Entry requirements

To become a fully qualified nurse you will also need to have studied a science subject at A-level (or equivalent) such as biology, chemistry or physics. You may also need a decent grade in mathematics at high school to be considered for a place. These are typical requirements for a nursing degree and specific information can be found in the course description on each institution’s website.


If English is not your first language, you will also have to demonstrate your competency through an IELTS exam - read more about how to prepare for the IELTS exam. Typically, universities require grade 6.5 or above. Additionally, many universities may ask you to submit a personal statement and attend an interview for entry.


Employment prospects 

Those who choose nursing will benefit from a significant market demand. Registered nurses tend to work in hospitals, doctors surgeries, schools and care homes.


Hospitals and clinics, however, are not the only places to find work. Nurses can find jobs almost anywhere: voluntary organisations, ships, sport, the military sector and universities.


Salary expectations

Salaries for nurses vary depending on the role and country that you’ve chosen but below is a useful guide. We used our data (IDP Insights) to find out which destinations students are most interested in studying nursing and the graphic below details what we found:

(Sources: Neuvoo, HealthTimes, NurseSalaryGuide)



Why study midwifery?

If you’re looking into studying midwifery at university, it may seem obvious, but you must be interested in helping pregnant women and their newborn babies. Midwifery is a separate field to nursing in many countries like the UK and Canada, but in some countries like the USA, these fields interlink. As a midwife, you will be supporting pregnant women throughout their pregnancy, providing pain relief, monitoring the baby, delivering the newborn and ensuring the safety of both mother and child.


Who should study midwifery?

It starts with an interest in childbirth, but midwives also need to be able to step outside of their comfort zone and put others at ease. Midwives are trained to be practical as well as compassionate and caring with the ability to work in high pressure environments. Although a demanding job, midwifery is a highly respected and important field with high demand in many countries. If you think about it, midwifery is an extremely unique career, helping to bring new life into the world in a safe and supportive way. What could be more rewarding?


Entry requirements

It really depends on the university and country you’ve chosen for your studies but in general, a degree in midwifery is necessary. As with nursing, to be accepted onto a midwifery course, you will need to show an interest in at least one science subject at A-level or equivalent. This is also in addition to attaining decent grades at high school (GCSE or equivalent). In general, you will need grades ranging from ABB-BCC, depending on specific university requirements.


As with a nursing course, you will also be required to sit an IELTS exam to prove your English capabilities if this is not your first language. Most universities will ask for a minimum score of 6.5 or above.


Employment prospects

With a degree in midwifery, your skills can be applied to several specialist areas, including:

  • Home birthing
  • Intensive care
  • Ward management
  • Mental health
  • Multiple births
  • Parenting education
  • Prenatal classes


Salary expectations

The expected midwifery salary again depends on the country and university you choose, but we’ve used our data to find out which countries are most popular for midwifery courses.

(Sources: Indeed, Neuvoo, Payscale)


Read more about Medicine and Biomedical Sciences courses as well as the experiences of a prospective medicine student in the US.


If you want to find out more about health services available to students like you, read our article about the subject.

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