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Amount of nursing students hits all time high record

Posted on August 2021 By Jamie Southwell

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​Number of nursing students soars to an all time high record in the UK as applicants race to apply following the interest in NHS jobs rising with the pandemic.

In the latest figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions (UCAS), the new total record of applications accepted for nursing is revealed to be 26,730 for those starting in 2021.

These statistics follow on from the provisional data provided earlier in the year which declared 2021 to have the highest amount of hospital and community health staff than ever before at 1,197,747 with 304,542 of them being nurses.

The Regional Director for the Royal College of Nursing, Patricia Marquis shreds fear over the misleading figures stating, “there are already significant staff shortages in nursing and it is clear acceptance numbers are still not keeping pace with vacancies".

With the increase in applicants for nursing being on schedule with Boris Johnson’s announcement stating an extra 50,000 nurses will be working under the NHS by 2024.

Continuing on Patricia said “this not only puts patient care at risk but means students risk not completing their studies and entering the workforce”.

However, the data reflects well for England alone, not Northern Ireland which has dropped in nursing acceptances by 11% from 2020 to 2021.

Additionally, Scotland saw a 3% decrease of 3,730 to 3,830 in the same years for nursing student acceptances.

Historically, nursing has been a female dominant field, but there was a 4% increase in the amount of men placed onto nursing courses for 2021 and 8.3% in women when compared to the previous year.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid spoke about the rise saying “as we build a better NHS and work to bust the backlog, these students are going to be the future of our greatest institution”.

These students will make ways to working within the next few years and should address the warned staff shortages which was said to be 350,000 by 2030.

Amongst nurses, healthcare assistants have been in high demand for more in the field as NHS England announce a £15 million package allocated for 5,000 more HCA students to continue education.