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Pre-registration nursing

The Open University has taught me lots of things. It has shown me that education is a wonderful thing. It’s opened up new insights and I think differently now. And it’s made me think about my life. The Open University has taught me that I am worth something.

Jackie Westlake, Nursing student (Mental Health Branch)

Do you want to become a registered nurse? If you already work in health care, the Open University’s NMC-approved Pre-registration nursing programme could be the answer. It enables you to stay in work while you study – provided you have the support of your employer, who sponsors you throughout.

You can only be registered for this degree if your employer has ensured that you meet the entry requirements specified by the NMC for entry to pre-registration nurse education. You must be working in healthcare practice in a caring role where mentors are available. We offer places on the programme following a selection process. All shortlisted applicants will be invited to a face-to-face interview as required by the programme. You must meet the programme entry requirements listed below. In addition, the interview will assess the alignment of your personal values with those set out in the following documents:

The current programme entry requirements include:

  • literacy (Key skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C / 4 or above in English)
  • numeracy (Key skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C / 4 or above in Maths)
  • good character, evidenced through self-declaration, an enhanced criminal disclosure, and two references – one of which must be from your current employer
  • good health, evidenced through self-declaration of health status, occupational health screening, review of previous sickness and absence record, and two references – one of which must be from your current employer.

Student testimonies

Pre-registration nursing students talk about what it has meant to them to be able to study Nursing with The Open University.

It usually takes about four years to study the programme, which is a balance of practical and theoretical learning. It’s designed to develop effective evidence-based practice and essential underpinning knowledge and understanding, in an inter-professional and interdisciplinary environment.

You study part-time at home to fit in with other commitments; through work-based learning; and in group tutorials. Your employer gives you protected time for practice learning. On successful completion of the programme, you gain the award of BSc (Honours) Nursing in either adult or mental health, and you’ll be eligible to apply for registration as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

This qualification is only offered in collaboration with employers, so they’ll need to agree to work in partnership with The Open University for you to take this qualification.

Useful downloads

Nursing and Healthcare Prospectus 2017/18 (pdf)
Undergraduate and Postgraduate Prospectus. Includes information on pre- and post registration nursing degrees, healthcare practice, learning beyond registration, mentorship, and postgraduate qualifications in advancing healthcare practice. A printed prospectus can be requested using the link on the right.

Health and Social Care Prospectus 2018/19 (pdf)
Undergraduate and Postgraduate Prospectus. Includes information on how to get started with OU study, health and social care courses, social work programme, nursing programme, sport and fitness and open qualifications. A printed prospectus can be requested using the link on the right.

A guide for our partners (pdf)
Guidance information for partners supporting students on the pre-registration nursing programme.

David Ferran

The opportunities for my future are endless

David Ferran has worked in the healthcare sector since he was 18 and will be completing his degree in 2017, as well as taking up his first registered nurse post. David was nominated and won the Royal College of Nursing (NI) Student Nurse of the Year Award 2016.

"I had concerns that I would not be disciplined enough to complete a distance learning degree and have surprised myself that I actually prefer this method of learning. The tutors at the OU are always only a phone call away and I have felt supported throughout my training.

As I now complete my studies I realise that with adequate support and passion for the subject success is achievable and I look forward to graduating and taking up my first registered nurse post this year. I am confident that my studies with The Open University have prepared me to practice safely and effectively as a registered nurse and that I have both the knowledge and practical skills to make a positive difference to patient care"

David Ferran