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Study a graduate program in nursing

What will I study on a graduate nursing program?

Nursing is one of the world’s oldest and most important professions in the world. A graduate program in nursing will allow you to do one of two things; either switch focus and move into this desirable area or develop your skills to specialise in a particular field of nursing.

Nursing is all about care. This is a hands-on job, so while you should expect to study medical theory as part of your masters course, the majority of your course will be practical, with you learning techniques by shadowing fellow nursing professionals.

You should expect to learn about some of the following:

  • Primary healthcare
  • Indigenous health
  • Discipline of nursing
  • Clinical nursing practice
  • biosciences

A graduate program in nursing can also be used by existing, qualified medical professionals to specialise in a particular field, such as midwifery, mental health or children’s nursing.

Length of program

The length a graduate program in nursing depends on your previous experience and qualifications, where you choose to study and the field of nursing you want to specialise in. As a guide, you should expect your nursing program to take the following time to complete in these countries:

  • UK – 1-2 years
  • US – 2-4 years
  • China – 1-3 years
  • Canada – 1-3 years

Entry requirements

There are several requirements that you will need to fulfil in order to be able to get on a graduate nursing program. Most countries will require you to pass a security check to make sure you are free of criminal charges, while many degrees will require you to have a previous undergraduate degree at a 2:2 level (or the equivalent classification in your country of study).

It is likely that you will also need to have some previous healthcare-related practical experience.

Career development

Nursing is a vocational degree and the majority of graduates go on to work in the industry for the rest of their lives, either at doctor’s practices or in hospitals.
 
However, if you do decide to move on from nursing, it’s worth remembering that the skills you’ve gained and the experience in professional care you’ve had will stand you in good stead for other careers, whether in medical research, care or teaching.

Some jobs graduate nurses go into include:

  • General practice nurse
  • Care professional
  • Early years care worker
  • Childminder
  • First aider

Fees and funding

The cost of graduate nursing programs varies widely from country to country and also depends on the status of the course and university. Remember that fees depend on whether you are a home, EU or international student. As a guide, expect to pay the following in these countries per year:

  • UK - £4,500 - £17,000
  • USA - $20,000 - $50,000
  • Germany  €2,000 - €5,000
  • Canada - $10,000-$18,000
  • China – RMB 21,000-24,000

What to do next

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