Think about: studying for a career in health

When considering studying at university, many people think about the benefits of embarking on a course which will allow them to not only progress academically, but one which will prepare them for a specific profession. The healthcare field provides challenging, rewarding and fulfilling careers to many people who enter into a variety of different roles, from clinical or medical through to more general support services.

Here, we look at key information for a number of health-related courses which offer both professionally focused and more general routes for prospective students seeking out opportunities in healthcare. For links to further information about careers in these different areas, please visit here.

Nursing

Nursing is a highly rewarding career. Qualified nurses to work closely with patients to support then in the delivery of their care and administer treatment. Nurses work closely with members of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team and have a crucial role in the planning and delivery of client care. With options to initially train in one of four branch specialisms: Adult, Child, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, qualified nurses may then progress to further specialise within their professional area.


Key points for training to become a registered nurse:

  • Courses are usually either degree or diploma qualifications. Fast-track route for graduates with health-related degrees are available at some universities.
  • Courses provide a combination of practice and theory.
  • Clinical placements an integral part of the course.
  • Eligible students can have tuition fees paid by NHS and may be able to receive a bursary for each year of the course to help with living costs through non means-tested (diploma and graduate diploma)/ means-tested (degree). Degree students may also be able to apply for a student loan via their Local Education Authority.
  • Opportunities exist for qualified nurses to specialise or diversify once qualified through a wide variety of post-registration course options or training opportunities.

Explore nursing courses at Birmingham City University.

Midwifery

Midwives provide care for women during all stages of pregnancy, labour and the post-natal period. They provide vital support to mothers throughout their pregnancy, giving a range of information and advice to help them make informed choices throughout the course of the pregnancy and beyond. 

Key points for training to become a midwife:

  • Training is through a degree level qualification.
  • Prospective students who don’t hold appropriate qualifications to join the midwifery degree course may be able to train as an adult nurse via the nursing diploma course before then undertaking midwifery training as a secondary qualification afterwards.
  • Eligible students can have tuition fees paid by NHS and may be able to receive a bursary for each year of the course to help with living costs through a means-tested bursary (degree). Degree students may also be able to apply for a student loan via their Local Education Authority.
  • Courses consist of a combination of practice and theory.
  • Clinical placements are an integral part of the course.
  • Opportunities to practice within a ward environment or in a community setting. Possibility to diversify and undertake further training to work in neonatal nursing or health visiting.

Explore Midwifery study at Birmingham City University.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapists work with a wide variety of clients who may have speech, language, communication, eating and/or swallowing difficulties. They may be based in a variety of settings including within schools, delivering care in clients’ homes, on a hospital ward or in the community. They may work as part of the multi-disciplinary team or more independently depending upon which setting they are based within.

Key points for training to become a Speech and Language Therapist:

  • Training is typically through a degree level qualification. Some institutions may offer fast-track routes for graduates.
  • Eligible students can have tuition fees paid by NHS and may be able to receive a bursary for each year of the course to help with living costs through a means-tested bursary (degree). Degree students may also be able to apply for a student loan via their Local Education Authority.
  • Clinical placements integrated within the course.

Explore Speech and Language Therapy at Birmingham City University.

Operating Department Practice

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are involved in care of the patient throughout the perioperative phase of their treatment – from anaesthetic phase, surgical phase to post-anaesthesia care. They are a vital part of the operating theatre team and their role is varied. They work with surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and health care support workers to ensure that every operation is as safe and effective as possible. ODPs work with a variety of equipment and machinery to ensure they are appropriately prepared for surgery and are involved in assessing and planning individualised care for patients. During surgery, they assist the operating theatre team and ensure that instruments and materials used are appropriate accounted for. Following surgery, they are responsible for ensuring that the patient is cared for through the recovery phase, assessing and managing pain, administering analgesia and monitoring vital signs before discharging them back to the surgical ward.

Key features of training to become an ODP:

  • Training is completed as a diploma qualification.
  • Eligible students can have tuition fees paid by NHS and may be able to receive a bursary for each year of the course to help with living costs through a non means-tested bursary.
  • Once qualified, ODPs have a range of options to top-up the diploma qualification to a bachelors degree. ODPs can progress to senior roles (such as running a theatre unit), or may move into teaching, research or lecturing.

Operating Department Practitioner training at Birmingham City University  

Diagnostic Radiography

Diagnostic radiographers use imaging techniques to produce high quality images of organs, limbs and other body parts to assist in the diagnosis of injury or disease. They can work in a variety of settings and operate within the wider multi-disciplinary healthcare team.  Diagnostic radiographers tend to only see the client once, so don’t usually build up relationships with clients.

Diagnostic radiographers usually work in shifts which may involve service provision across the 24 hour period.

Once qualified, diagnostic radiographers can specialise in particular areas such as forensic radiography, ultrasound or sonography.

Key points for training to become a diagnostic radiographer:

  • Degree level qualification. Some institutions may offer fast-track routes for graduates.
  • Course involves both theoretical and practical elements, with students attending clinical placements.
  • Eligible students can have tuition fees paid by NHS and may be able to receive a bursary for each year of the course to help with living costs through a means-tested bursary. Degree students may also be able to apply for a student loan via their Local Education Authority.

Diagnostic Radiography at Birmingham City University

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapists use radiation for the therapeutic treatment of patients with disease and tissue defects and is one of the main treatments for cancer. They work closely with patients and their carers and families and build up relationships with them through providing advice, support and administering treatment. Treatment cycles may last for a period of approximately 40 days in some instances. Radiotherapists need to be able to communicate effectively and help you put people at ease. Above all, they must enjoy working with people.

Radiotherapists generally tend to work during daytime hours.

Key points for training to become a therapeutic radiographer:

  • Degree level qualification. Some institutions may offer fast-track routes for graduates.
  • Course involves both theoretical and practical elements and students will undertake clinical placements.
  • Eligible students can have tuition fees paid by NHS and may be able to receive a bursary for each year of the course to help with living costs through a means-tested bursary. Degree students may also be able to apply for a student loan via their Local Education Authority.

Radiotherapy training at Birmingham City University

Social Work

Social workers are actively involved in providing direct care and support to vulnerable people in society. They also work with communities to develop strategies and policies as part of a wider group of participants. They interact with clients and provide advice and guidance as well as assessing their care needs and planning appropriate care packages for them. They may liaise with other agencies during the course of their duties, such as the police or the NHS.  

  • Professional Body: General Social Care Council 
  • Starting salary for a social worker: www.socialworkcareers.co.uk advises that “A newly qualified social worker would probably be on a starting salary of about £18,000 (more in London) and this could increase to about £30,000 or above, as you gain more experience and more responsibilities as a senior practitioner or team leader.”

Key points for training to become a social worker:

  • Degree level qualification. Some institutions may offer a fast-track route for graduates with degrees in appropriate subjects.
  • Students undertake theoretical and practical elements and will undertake work placements as part of the course.
  • Eligible students may apply for standard student financial support (maintenance grants, tuition and maintenance loans) through their Local Education Authority and may be able to receive a bursary to help with living costs.

Social Work training at Birmingham City University

Health and Well-being

Opportunities exist in a vast array of health and social care related areas including health promotion, nutritional advice, sports therapy, youth and community work, drug and alcohol work and art therapy. Some courses offered at universities may be specific to an individual area, whilst others offer the option to follow broader studies allowing students to develop a wider overview of a range of relevant topics.

A more general health-related degree can offer the following benefits:

  • Eligible students may apply for standard student financial support through their Local Education Authority.
  • Wide range of career options open to graduates with more general health-related degrees.
  • Some degree courses may include periods of work placement.
  • Opportunities to progress onto a graduate diploma course – e.g. nursing or social work. Opportunity to move into teaching via a PGCE.

Health and Well-being at Birmingham City University

Other options

There are many more options available in terms of potential careers within the health service. To find out more, visit the NHS Careers website.

Funding information for healthcare students for the above areas:

NHS Bursaries www.nhsstudentgrants.co.uk

Standard Student Financial Support via a Local Education Authority  www.studentfinancedirect.co.uk

Social Work Bursary http://www.ppa.org.uk/ppa/swb.htm

 

*figures may be subject to change. For up-to-date information about salary rates, please visit the NHS Careers website and check the relevant section for nurses and midwives or allied health professionals.

 

 

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