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Frequently asked questions about the nursing programmes

Northumbria’s pre-registration nursing programmes are the first in the country to be accredited by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), in addition to being approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). On our Nursing Studies course you will spend half of your time studying at university and half on placement, receiving personalised support from a guidance tutor. As a result you will graduate as a skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate nurse, able to respond appropriately to healthcare needs and accept professional responsibility.

As Nursing is an exciting and diverse field of study, we have created a series of FAQ’s to support your application to the Nursing programmes offered by Northumbria University.

What will the course involve?

The nursing programme is a three year full time course, comprising of a one year foundation followed by a two year branch study in your chosen field of practice. The academic year is split into two semesters and the programmes are structured into blocks of time spent in university and blocks of time in practice over the three years.

Will I have a choice when I take my holidays?

You will be provided with a plan for the programme on the first day, this will detail weeks of study in university, placement and holiday. You are not permitted to take holidays outside of the weeks identified as holiday in your three year plan. Attendance is closely monitored as all students must complete 4600 hours of study, half in theory, and half in practice to register with the NMC on completion of the programme.

What sort of placements will I be expected to undertake?

Placements will vary depending on your chosen branch of nursing, your three year plan will give you some idea of the type of placement experiences you will experience. Most placements are located within NHS trusts; however some may be with the independent sector, particularly in the learning disability or mental health branches. You will be allocated to an NHS trust which will act as your ‘home trust’, as it is not always possible to allocate students to the nearest trust to their home address some degree of travel to placement will be expected. We will try to allocate you to your ‘home trust’ for your key placements, however there will be occasions when the Trust that you are allocated to will not be able to provide a placement which matches your learning needs, in these circumstances you will be expected to travel to a placement in another area out with your ‘home’ trust this applies to all branches and may mean additional travel. Further information will be sent to you once you have accepted your offer of a place.

Will there be any exams on the course?

There are a variety of formative and summative assessment methods used to assess your knowledge and its application to practice, including exams, essays, workbook activities, short answer questions and oral presentations. Each module is assessed and a planned, progressive approach is used in which the focus is on enabling students to link theory to practice. You will be given clear guidance concerning the requirements and marking criteria for all assessed work at the beginning of each module. You will also be assessed in practice on a pass/ fail basis by mentors, who you will work with closely whilst on placement.

Will I have to work shifts and weekends?

During placements you will be expected to follow the normal shift patterns of the staff working in the ward or department you are allocated to for your clinical experience, this may include evenings and weekends.

Will I be able to work Part-time in other employment?

This is a full time programme which includes substantive periods of study and clinical practice which must take priority over any part-time employment. Please consider carefully your circumstances and seek advice before undertaking any part-time employment.

What support is there on the programme?

On commencement of the programme, you will have an identified Guidance Tutor (GT). You will be in a GT group of about 25 students who are studying on the same branch programme. Your GT will provide pastoral and academic support to you throughout the three years of the programme. Support is also available from programme managers, programme leaders, module tutors, and mentors in practice, library staff and student services.

When will I find out if I have been successful?

You will be able to track the progress of your application on the UCAS site and your offer will be confirmed by letter once your academic reference and character reference have been approved. If you know that any of your references are outstanding it is your responsibility to ensure that your referee sends it to us as soon as possible. If you do not already have the required qualifications your offer will be ‘conditional’ on you receiving your expected grades.

What do I need to do once I have received the offer?

You will be sent an email from the Occupational Health and Wellbeing service at Newcastle General Hospital which directs you to the online Health check form. Depending on your responses to the questions you may be sked for further information or to attend for a medical. This is completely confidential and between you and the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Department, if you receive such a request you should respond as soon as possible as it is vital to obtain the required clearance. You must also complete an online application for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Certificate and you will be invited to a pre-course induction day prior to commencing the programme where you will complete the documentation. Without these clearances, you will not be able to commence the programme.

Will I receive a student bursary?

All students accepted onto a pre-registration nursing programme who meet the Department of Health residency requirements are eligible to apply for a NHS training bursary. Further information on bursary entitlements can be found at Once you have accepted your offer of a place, you will receive email correspondence on how to apply for the NHS funding. Please note that bursary applications are not formally allocated until the university confirm with the NHS that you have commenced on the programme therefore it may be several weeks until you actually receive your first payment.

What student accommodation is available?

Northumbria University can offer student accommodation in a variety of locations, all of which are within easy travelling distance to both Coach Lane and City campus. New students are given priority when applying for accommodation. When you receive your offer of a place from Northumbria University, please refer to the Student Residential Accommodation webpages at, which will give you detailed guidance on the locations of the university accommodation and information on how to apply.

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