Nursing applications soar in the UK in response to Covid pandemic

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Nursing applications soar in the UK in response to Covid pandemic
CREDIT: UCAS

Nursing applications soar in the UK in response to Covid pandemic.

More than 60,000 people are keen to be part of the fightback against coronavirus and embark on a career in nursing according to latest university application statistics, published today (Thursday, February 18) by UCAS.

The total number of applications for nursing courses has risen by almost a third (32 per cent) to reach 60,130, with increases seen in each age group.

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Clare Marchant, UCAS Chief Executive, said: “The amazing work of our NHS continues to inspire people of all ages into fulfilling and rewarding careers, helping those in most need as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Overall, applications are buoyant as students plan their futures for life after lockdown. We expect offer rates to remain at the high levels of recent years as universities and colleges have several months to plan and be flexible to accommodate the increase in applicants.”

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England, was delighted with the news.


“This surge in interest from people – of all ages – wanting to study nursing is incredible, and is great news for the public and the health service.

“During Covid-19, the level of interest in working for the NHS has trumped lots of other careers options, and that speaks volumes about how people recognise our profession, particularly following our most challenging year.

“We hope that we can inspire even more people to consider a rewarding career in the NHS in the near future – if you are interested, please have a look at the many opportunities that are available.”


A breakdown shows that from UK 18-year-old school leavers there’s been a record 16,560 applicants, up 27 per cent on last year, and in the mature students category, aged 35 and over, for the first time ever applications have exceeded 10,000 (10,770) a huge 39 per cent rise on 2020.

“The largest proportional increase in UK applicants by their declared ethnic group has come from black and mixed race students, both up 15 per cent to 40,690 and 25,830 respectively. Applicants from the Asian ethnic group have increased by 10 per cent to 70,140, while 11 per cent more white students (to a total of 352,170) have applied,” said UCAS:

Applicants from outside of the EU continue to rise and are up this year by 17% to a record 85,610, there has been a slump of 40 per cent (26,010) in applications from the EU.

“The short term effects and uncertainty at the end of the last calendar year surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and changes to student support arrangements, have impacted on applications from the continent. However, applicants from Ireland have increased by 26 per cent to reach 4,850,” explained UCAS.


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