I Want to Work in ......Nursing and Medical Therapies


  • General
  • Nursing

  • Occupational &
  • Speech
  • Dietetics
  • Radiography
    & Audiology
  • Art/Drama
  • Health
  • Psychology
  • Alternative

Fast track coursespalmistry

There are now a number of fast track Masters courses for graduates lasting two years including 6 in nursing, 15 in occupational health, 8 in speech and language therapy, 15 in physiotherapy and 4 in radiography. There are also 17 in medicine and 4 in dentistry. One in ten doctors now qualify via fast track courses. Fees are usually paid and you may be eligible for a government bursary as well. The courses are very intensive and competition can be high for places on some courses especially those for medicine and dentistry.

To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/coursefinder/FindCourse.aspx

Work experience

Try to get work experience in a hospital: even taking library books round the wards is useful. Apply well in advance as some hospitals have waiting lists. Most hospitals will have a volunteer coordinator who can help you: you can find out about on their web site. For Canterbury hospital volunteering oppportunities, see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/voluntaryWork.htm#hosp

Bursaries and tuition fees

The NHS bursary scheme provides new students with a non-means tested grant, a means tested bursary and a reduced rate non-means-tested loan. The loan is be provided by Student Finance England. Different rates of means tested bursary and loan apply according to where a student lives and studies, whether in London, outside of London, or with their parents.

This means that a healthcare student on an eligible course of 45 weeks in duration and studying outside London could receive a non-means tested grant of £1,000, a means tested bursary of up to a further £4,500  and a non-means tested student loan of up to £3,263 (2015 figures). Additional claims may be made for excess travel expenses and accommodation costs associated with attendance at clinical placements.

The NHS bursary scheme pays a bursary, for eligible students on approved courses leading to registration in: undergraduate Audiology, Dental hygiene, Dental therapy, Diagnostic radiography, Dietetics, Midwifery, Nursing (all four branches), Occupational therapy, Operating department practice, Orthoptics, Orthotics/prosthetics, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Speech and language therapy and Therapeutic Radiography.

Financial support is also available to eligible students on shortened/fast track graduate-entry courses leading to registration in: Diagnostic radiography, Dietetics, Nursing (all four branches), Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech and language therapy and Therapeutic radiography.

You have to be "eligible" and on an NHS-funded course to be able to get financial help from the NHS.  For more information about the financial support available from the NHS, go to www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/students

The Government now plans to axe bursaries:

Nurses on the march against plans to axe bursaries www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36444485

Physician Assistant

This is a new role in hospitals. Physician assistants support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients.  They are trained to perform a number of roles including: taking medical histories; performing examinations; diagnosing illnesses and analysing test results. They work under the direct supervision of a doctor. You usually need a science orientated first degree to get onto a training programme: these include Hertfordshire, Birmingham, and St George’s.

General information

For information on the following areas please go to:


Belarussian translation of this web page http://onlinepharmacycheck.com/~doc/nursing-kent-ua

Finnish Translation www.autonvaraosatpro.fi/blogi/2017/04/04/haluan-tyoskennella-hoitotyon-ja-laaketieteen-hoitoja

Swedish Translation www.autodoc.de/edu/?p=35


PROFILE: Registered General Nurse

INVOLVES: Assessing the needs of patients, planning their care & then carrying it out. Responding to urgent care needs (i.e. tending to wounds etc), getting patients ready for treatment & operation & assisting with tests & examinations.
EMPLOYERS: health authorities & NHS trusts, private hospitals, charities (i.e. hospice charities), agencies, nursing homes, private companies.
RELATED JOBS: medicine, paramedical careers (i.e. occupational therapy, physiotherapy), care managers, social work, also psychiatric & mental handicap nursing.
SATISFACTIONS: "The thanks from the patients & relatives, knowing it's a useful job, being an organiser/manager, variety - loads of it."
NEGATIVES: "Pay. Constant change (i.e. trying to keep up with the changes in training). The hours. A graduate should have the motivation & intelligence to go all the way but having a degree may not help if it isn't nursing related."
SKILLS: cooperating, listening, practical skills.
ADVANCEMENT: Can move up to senior staff nurse, ward manager, nurse training, Health Service administration, district nursing, children's nursing, health education & many other areas.
DEGREE: Any degree subject - a degree is not necessary. Biological sciences or psychology may be useful. There are some shortened nurse training courses for graduates.
TIPS: Apply through UCAS for degree courses. Get experience in a healthcare setting, e.g. care work, paid or voluntary. Show an understanding of the role of a nurse and your commitment to the profession.

For detailed information about the different branches of nursing, see the Prospects Occupational Profiles

Accelerated nursing programmes for graduates:

There are some fast track programmes in Nursing for graduates. These programmes generally last two years full time and lead to registration in adult, children's, mental health or learning disabilities nursing. They are designed for graduates with relevant degrees, such as biological science, psychology, sociology or sports science, and have a strong emphasis on learning in the practice environment. Bursaries may be available while you train: see www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/Default.aspx?Id=1923

To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/courses

For more information see www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/courses

All new entrants to the profession will need to take the degree route from 2013. There has been a rise in the number of applicants for nurse training  

There are still shortages of high calibre applicants to become a Health Visitor as many nurses have been put off by the bad publicity from child abuse cases. To become a Health Visitor, a post–registration course must be taken after 2 years nursing experience.

Further Information on Nursing


Occupational Therapy

PROFILE: Occupational Therapist

INVOLVES: working with people with disabilities (physical, mental & learning) to enable them to live as independently as possible. This involves: assessing & teaching basic living skills, providing equipment, visiting people's homes, working with groups & individuals, using activities e.g. pottery, drama, cookery to develop others skills. Enabling them to take stock & make changes if they wish, giving direction towards information, new skills, helping agencies, supporting through change.
EMPLOYERS: Hospitals, GP's, Social Service departments, private practice, voluntary work – worldwide.
RELATED JOBS: Work closely with nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, speech & language therapists & clinical psychologists. Whilst there are overlaps with these professions each has a significantly different role within the team. Social work & nursing approach the problems in a more directive way.
SATISFACTIONS: "Working with people, enabling people to reach their potential & to achieve what they see as important within their lives. Deep pleasure of watching people find themselves & make considered choices towards better lives. The job is very varied, especially as within O.T. there are many different areas of specialism e.g. pediatrics, eating disorders, neurological disorders."
NEGATIVES: "It is possible to be isolated & unsupported unless you yourself take the initiative to ensure adequate good quality supervision. Need to be non-judgmental, offering opportunity not direction. Salary. Prospects for promotion are good but it is difficult to get to high positions within an NHS Trust. O.T. is a young profession & needs much promotion."
SKILLS: spoken communication, co-operating, listening, practical skills.
ADVANCEMENT: There are more jobs available than qualified occupational therapists so it is possible to pick jobs you really want or negotiate what your job will involve. Can also move into general NHS management & lecturing in O.T.
DEGREE: A degree in Occupational Therapy is essential (unless taking postgraduate diploma route). Must also have at least a GCSE in Science. Graduates in subjects other than Occupational Therapy can undertake a shortened course for graduates. Degree courses in biology, sociology, psychology, management would help with this. To train as an Occupational Therapist is a minimum of 2 years (Middlesborough and York courses). You could also enter as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, with a view to pursuing the p/t option of training which is 4 years.
VACANCY SOURCES: British Journal of Occupational Therapy; Therapy Weekly; www.nhsjobs.com
TIPS: Get experience in a relevant field e.g. care worker, O.T. assistant. Contact O.T's & ask to visit their departments, shadow them for one day. Try working as a technician or volunteer in the area that interests you - i.e. pediatrics, orthopedics, mental health, learning difficulties, to make sure it's what you want. This is a job with a strong skill base, not carrying blackcurrant jelly to the poor! Health Authorities sponsor students training, as do social services.


PROFILE: Physiotherapist

INVOLVES: Examination & assessment of people with disorders of movement. Patient treatment using massage, hydrotherapy & manipulation; multidisciplinary teamwork with doctors, social workers, nurses; supervision of junior staff; clinical education of students. Helping patients return to normal daily life.
EMPLOYERS: NHS & private hospitals, private practice, sports clubs, companies.
RELATED JOBS: occupational therapy, speech therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, nursing.
SATISFACTIONS: Seeing patients improve & return home.
NEGATIVES: "Pressures of NHS (more & more throughput expected with less resources); shortage of physiotherapists leading to unreasonable workloads; increasing complaints from patients, the stress of the situations encountered, overwork, low pay compared to other professions."
SKILLS: investigating, co-operating, listening, practical skills.
ADVANCEMENT: All chartered physiotherapists in UK are graduates now (all those who've trained recently) - they progress from staff physiotherapist to Senior II to Senior I to superintendent to district physiotherapist. Other possibilities are Health Service management, teaching & research.
DEGREE: Must have a BSc. degree in physiotherapy. There are now some fast track Masters programmes for graduates in other subjects which give qualified status. For example the University of Essex has an MSc programme in Physiotherapy. There is also an MSc in Rehabilitation Science at Glasgow Caledonian University.
VACANCY SOURCES: Physiotherapy Journal, Therapy Weekly, www.nhsjobs.com
TIPS: Require science 'A' Levels & some work experience e.g. as a physio helper plus something extra that makes one 'stand out' from the rest e.g. sports achievement, etc., etc. Work experience essential before deciding.

Speech & Language Therapy

PROFILE: Speech Therapist

INVOLVES: Diagnoses & treats speech, language, & swallowing disorders in patients. Works with children & adults on a one-to-one basis & in groups to enable them to communicate to the best of their ability.
EMPLOYERS: The NHS, education organisations (e.g. special schools), charities.
RELATED JOBS: drama therapist, music therapist, occupational therapist, clinical psychologist, educational psychologist, special educational needs teacher.
SATISFACTIONS: Developing a relationship of trust with a patient. Helping them through rehabilitation to cure.
NEGATIVES: Pay. Being unable to help some patients. Occasional lack of resources.
SKILLS: communication skills, teamwork, organisational skills, and flexibility.
ADVANCEMENT: Speech Therapist to Manager of a Speech Therapy unit.
DEGREE: a Speech Science/Therapy degree is required unless taking 2 year diploma/MSc postgraduate course (e.g. at City University). Entry to this normally requires a 2:1 or higher in a linguistics, psychology, or biology-related degree. Apply early for postgraduate courses as there is lots of competition and gain relevant work experience.
VACANCY SOURCES: Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists; Therapy Weekly; www.nhsjobs.com
TIPS: Apply for postgraduate courses early & gain relevant work experience.


I’'m interested in training to become a speech and language therapist, but how good are the employment prospects?

While there is certainly a need for speech & language therapists, the public spending cuts and reorganisation of the NHS have affected employment prospects in this area. There seem to be few advertised vacancies for newly qualified speech and language therapists at the moment, so you need to check the job prospects very carefully.

I have a social sciences degree – will this allow me to be accepted onto a postgraduate course in speech and language therapy?

Although many universities mention social sciences as being a relevant degree background, some subjects in this field, such as psychology, are usually seen as more "relevant" than others – you should check with the universities that offer SLT courses. However, a less “relevant” degree needn't stop you being accepted onto a course. City University, for example, says that "A degree in a relevant subject is an advantage, but candidates are selected on the basis of their motivation, social skills, and appropriate academic abilities, rather than the subject of their degree". However, there is a lot of competition to get onto these courses and you would probably need some relevant work or voluntary experience to help show your motivation and your knowledge of SLT.

The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists has a useful careers guide at www.rcslt.org/speech_and_language_therapy/careers/career

Dietetics and Nutrition.


Most dieticians work in hospitals or community health services, informing and teaching the public and health professionals about diet and nutrition.

The title “dietician” is protected and in order to work as a dietician in the NHS you need to have an accredited qualification and be registered with the Health Professions Council.

There are a number of 2 year conversion courses for graduates – see www.bda.uk.com/edpostgrad.html for a list. Normally, applicants for these courses need a degree in a related subject, which contains biochemistry and human physiology. A  Kent biomedical science degree should be acceptable.

To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool www.hpc-uk.org/education/programmes/register

For details of the financial support that may be available for these courses, see www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/Default.aspx?Id=1923

A Kent biosciences graduate successfully obtained a place on the Cardiff dietetics course with an NHS bursary.


Nutritionists work in a variety of organisations, including food companies, retailers, sports and leisure and the NHS (where they work under the supervision of a dietician). As "Nutritionist" is not a protected job title (unlike dietician), in theory anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.

  • The Nutrition Society www.nutritionsociety.org site includes a careers leaflet and a listing of postgraduate courses in nutrition
  • British Nutrition Foundation www.nutrition.org.uk site includes information on career paths in nutrition & dietetics and the differences between these two areas
  • Nutritionists in Industry www.nii.org.uk

Nutritional therapists work with clients to relieve the symptoms of illness (or maintain health) through diet and nutritional support. Their work is usually within private practice and nutritional therapists are often self-employed. While there are a number of courses available in nutritional therapy there is currently no legal regulation or accreditation of these courses, although the Nutritional Therapy Council www.nutritionaltherapycouncil.org.uk can provide details of courses that meet certain agreed standards.


There are two types of radiographer. Diagnostic radiographers employ a range of sophisticated equipment including X-rays and ultrasound to produce high quality images to diagnose an injury or disease. Therapeutic radiographers plan and deliver radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

For undergraduate courses such as that at Christ Church, Canterbury you must apply via UCAS by January 15th of the year you wish to enter.

Employability is very high with graduates having little trouble finding jobs at present (2015) as there is currently a shortage of radiographers. The NHS have increased the number of bursaries available by 15% across the health professions.

The Christ Church course is intensive: you study for 39 weeks each year. About half of these are at the university and half in clinical practice. In year 2 and 3 you will also be rostered for weekend, BH and night shifts. Christ Church had 427 applicants for 50 places in 2015 and have not needed to use clearing for the last ten years.

Postgraduate courses for graduates, some of two years in duration and funded via NHS bursaries are available at London South Bank University, Queen Margaret University, Sheffield Hallam University, Teesside University, University of Liverpool
and the University of the West of England. See www.sor.org/about-radiography/career-radiography/directory-courses

To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool www.hpc-uk.org/education/programmes/register

For further information, see:

Audiology and Hearing Therapy

A fully trained audiologist has in-depth knowledge about hearing, acoustics and balance. An audiologist has two main roles, diagnostic and rehabilitative. The diagnostic role involves carrying out a range of tests on children and adults to determine the level and extent of deafness or a balance problem, to enable accurate clinical diagnosis.

The rehabilitative role involves long-term management of people with deafness, balance problems or tinnitus. The audiologist needs to have technical skills and good listening and communication skills.

Hearing therapists assess the needs of patients who have lost their hearing later in life (become deafened), or have tinnitus or balance problems. They give advice on tactics to help with lipreading and hearing and on how to make the best use of hearing aids and environmental aids.

Postgraduate courses

A one year full-time MSc in Audiology can be undertaken at

Entry requirements are a good relevant science degree [usually 2:1], preferable some knowledge of physics or behavioural science and a proven interest or experience in Audiology. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and an interest in direct patient care are also essential.

The NHS Clinical Scientists Clearing House Scheme makes awards which cover tuition fees and a bursary. See www.nhsclinicalscientists.info

Art Therapy

Drama Therapy

Approved and accredited post-graduate training courses in Dramatherapy in the UK :

Health Education

PROFILE: Health Promotiotion Specialist

INVOLVES: Promotes good health by supporting other health professionals such as doctors & nurses in planning, implementing & evaluating health promotion programmes. Provides information, advice & training to the community as well as running health campaigns on specific issues (i.e. smoking, alcohol abuse etc,).
EMPLOYERS: NHS, Local authorities, Independent organisations such as charities & trusts.
RELATED JOBS: Occupational Health worker, Environmental Health Officer, Welfare Rights Officer, Youth & Community Worker.
SATISFACTIONS: Addressing current health issues & making a contribution to the general health awareness of the public. Liaising with many groups including professional organisations & the general public.
NEGATIVES: Frustration when advice & guidance is ignored.
SKILLS: planning & organising, persuading people to change both their views & practises. Confronting issues & attitudes. Making presentations.
ADVANCEMENT: Assistant ..........to Officer..........to Manager.
DEGREE: Any subject, although health related degrees always enhance chances (biology, dietetics, food science, nutrition, psychology).
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: Applicants for jobs have often studied the Diploma in Health Education/Promotion.
VACANCY SOURCES: Health Service Journal, Times Educational Supplement, Health Services Yearbook.
TIPS: Obtain relevant work experience such as teaching, nursing, promotional work.

Clinical Psychology

Podiatry (foot care: previously known as chiropody)

There seem to be good prospects in this area and graduates may well be eligible for a means tested NHS Bursary when undergoing the training course.

To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool www.hpc-uk.org/education/programmes/register

See Feet for life www.feetforlife.org/careers/index.html for further information

and the podiatrist profile at www.prospects.ac.uk/podiatrist.htm

Alternative /Complementary Medicine & Therapies


PROFILE: Alternative Medicine Practitioner

INVOLVES: Treating illnesses & injuries by means other than pharmaceutical or surgical, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic (see below) and reflexology, generally with the aim of treating the whole person - body, mind & spirit - rather than just the symptoms presented
EMPLOYERS: Usually self-employed; some GPs practices & hospitals employ complementary medicine practitioners.
RELATED JOBS: physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nurse, counselor.
SATISFACTIONS: Helping people; seeing them improve & come to a better understanding of themselves & their illness; independence & flexibility.
NEGATIVES: Some therapies can be physically or emotionally demanding; uncertainties of self-employment; may be isolated from fellow-practitioners
SKILLS: spoken communication; listening; sensitivity; analysing & investigating.
ADVANCEMENT: May start as assistant in established practice & then go it alone. Possible to move into teaching or research.
DEGREE: Any degree - life sciences may give some exemptions. BSc degree is available for some therapies, such as osteopathy & phytotherapy. A-levels in science subjects may be required. Need to follow a course recognised by the professional body for the particular therapy. Often available part-time, but this can take up to 5 years. Training & qualification varies considerably between different therapies so check with the relevant professional body.
TIPS: Contact the British Complementary Medicine Association www.bcma.co.uk/Publicpage.htm#Therapists for details of recognised professional bodies & check credentials of training providers with the appropriate body



Chiropractic treatment involves manipulating the joints, muscles and tendons, to offer pain relief. The profession is growing and experienced Chiropractitioners may earn over £50,000 p.a.



Course fees are normally between 3,000 and £5,000 p.a. If you have already done another degree you may may have to fund yourself. Many chiropractic students will have problems with funding and the above colleges should be able to give you good advice. McTimoney has loans via Nat West bank.

For further information see the Prospects Profile for Chiropractitioner www.prospects.ac.uk/links/chiropract


Last fully updated 2017