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The Basics

  • most people undertake a three-year course to become a nurse or midwife and there are also 4 year Honours courses available
  • the courses are run by several higher education institutions throughout Scotland
  • courses are either at diploma or degree level, and include a mix of theory and practice
  • you will get practical experience by being supervised in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital ward or health centre
  • you have to pass both the theory and practical parts to complete the course
  • for nursing, there are 4 branches to choose from - adult, mental health, care of children, and learning disabilities
  • the nursing courses are divided into elements which are shared by all branches, and then specific elements for each programme
  • midwifery programmes last three years
  • you may be eligible to receive a non-means tested bursary


Because of the way nurses and midwives are often portrayed in the media, there is probably a difference between what you imagine a qualified nurse or midwife does and what really happens. So here is the chance to do a reality check - did you know that?….


  • many nurses and midwives do not wear uniform
  • most health care occurs outside a hospital setting
  • nurses and midwives are expected to think for themselves
  • not all nurses and midwives are women
  • people of all ages and backgrounds choose nursing or midwifery as a career
  • nursing is about keeping people healthy, as well as looking after them when they are sick
  • midwifery is concerned with maintaining or improving women's health and caring for their babies