The Student Room Group

Nursing degree

I want to be a nurse consultant in the future and I think I’ll need a masters degree to do that. I am wondering if I should go to university now and do a integrated masters (extra year and debt lol) or get a job as a nurse and wait later on to do a masters while still working? I’ve heard sometimes employee may finance the masters degree but it might to easier just to do it all together. Would love to hear anyone’s advice x
Reply 1
the normal route is a degree experience and then specialize. with luck your employer may pay for it.
Reply 2
I would shop around, Uni of Birmingham offers integrated masters which is why I chose it too. I want to become a practitioner and the clinical time mixed in yr 3 and 4 is great as it takes the load off a bit. I am doing Adult and Mental and the one year is focused on each area, so it allows for some great placement opportunities too. Also, look at their placement opportunities because UoB offers a great one of 4 weeks in anything humanitarian based too.
Original post by NeoNurse
I would shop around, Uni of Birmingham offers integrated masters which is why I chose it too. I want to become a practitioner and the clinical time mixed in yr 3 and 4 is great as it takes the load off a bit. I am doing Adult and Mental and the one year is focused on each area, so it allows for some great placement opportunities too. Also, look at their placement opportunities because UoB offers a great one of 4 weeks in anything humanitarian based too.


thank you! I am currently looking at Exeter as they have an integrated masters too
What do you want to be a nurse consultant in? What do you know about consultant level practice in nursing?
(edited 1 month ago)
Your degree will be three years for an Honours programme.
A Masters or dual reg programme usually places you in Band 5 in two areas of nursing.

For most Advanced Nurse Practioner programmes. you need three years post registration experience. The regulation of ANP roles currently being looked at by the NMC.

My advice as a current nursing student is: - Being a nurse is a really diverse job title. There are hundreds of variations and aspects to specialise in, in a range of different settings. Your placements will help you discover which settings and specialities match your interests.

Stay motivated, but focus on enjoying the journey.
Original post by moonkatt
What do you want to be a nurse consultant in? What do you know about consultant level practice in nursing?


I want to start preferably as an A&E nurse as I know you need experience before hand as a nurse. I think I want to specialise in patient care as a nurse consultant and I could further specialise in oncology. But tbh I don’t know much about it and was looking for any advice x
Original post by oliviawebb09
I want to be a nurse consultant in the future and I think I’ll need a masters degree to do that. I am wondering if I should go to university now and do a integrated masters (extra year and debt lol) or get a job as a nurse and wait later on to do a masters while still working? I’ve heard sometimes employee may finance the masters degree but it might to easier just to do it all together. Would love to hear anyone’s advice x


I would also love any advice on the differences between nurse consultant and nurse practitioner. I understand that nurse practitioner is one of the highest roles in nursing. Should I be aiming to become a nurse practitioner or consultant??
Original post by oliviawebb09
I want to start preferably as an A&E nurse as I know you need experience before hand as a nurse. I think I want to specialise in patient care as a nurse consultant and I could further specialise in oncology. But tbh I don’t know much about it and was looking for any advice x

Ok, so I'll break my reply up a little here.

First of all, nurse pracitioners, advanced nurse pracitioners (ANP), consultant nurses. Advanced practice is having a little bit of an overhaul and within nursing they are looking to standardise things so that the NMC can formalise registration for ANPs. When we consider nurse pracitioners etc, we look at practice at levels of complexity, from enhanced ( lowest), through advanced and up to consultant (most complex). People within these roles work within specialisms, so for instance, in my clinical role I am a critical care outreach nurse and my practice is mostly at enhanced level supporting the managment of unwell patients across the hospital. You may find oncology nurses working within their deprtments looking after patients with cancers at all three levels dependent on role, or nurses in trauma and orthopadics, emergency care, etc.

To become an ANP, these days the accepted standard is that you do a post-registration masters degree in advanced clinical practice (which should include non-medical prescribing). These are courses usually taken on by nurses with several years of experience in their area of practice which gives them experience and knowledge to underpin their practice, these courses are usually linked to a post as a trainee ANP. The course covers the pillars of advanced practice (cinical practice, management & leadership, education and research).

Consultant level nursing practice is often the final stage after advanced practice, most consultant nurses I've encountered (all be it very few that I've met) have moved into their role from being an ANP. Often further study at doctoral level is expected. They're still quite rare compared to other nursing roles, but I believe the CNO in England wants to see an increase in nurse consultants. These are usually nurses who are very experienced within their area of nursing, often with a research portfolio supporting their practice.

Considering your own career, my advice is to learn to walk before running. It's ok to have career aspirations however your career is a marathon. Make the most of your experiences as a student and then a staff nurse, it's these foundations that support you throughout your career. You mention emergency nursing, but then say you want to specialise in oncology, there are routes where you can specialise within both those areas of practice, but they may look a bit different to each other (for example an emergency nurse practitioner vs an acute oncology nurse pracitioner). Take your time, find your feet first and you'll find an area of practice that really works for you.

(edited for typos and to add a little context)

https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/advanced-practice
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by oliviawebb09
I would also love any advice on the differences between nurse consultant and nurse practitioner. I understand that nurse practitioner is one of the highest roles in nursing. Should I be aiming to become a nurse practitioner or consultant??

Also, theres no "highest" role really. You can grow your career through advanced practice and progress that way or there's management or education as well. An ANP can hold a fair amount of responsibility, but so can a ward manager, matron or directorate manager, or a lecturer responsible for a cohort of nursing students for example.
Original post by moonkatt
Ok, so I'll break my reply up a little here.
First of all, nurse pracitioners, advanced nurse pracitioners (ANP), consultant nurses. Advanced practice is having a little bit of an overhaul and within nursing they are looking to standardise things so that the NMC can formalise registration for ANPs. When we consider nurse pracitioners etc, we look at practice at levels of complexity, from enhanced ( lowest), through advanced and up to consultant (most complex). People within these roles work within specialisms, so for instance, in my clinical role I am a critical care outreach nurse and my pracitce is mostly at enhanced level. You may find oncology nurses working at all three levels dependent on role, or nurses in trauma and orthopadics, emergency care, etc.
To become an ANP, these days the accepted standard is that you do a post-registration masters degree in advanced clinical practice (which should include non-medical prescribing). These are courses usually taken on by nurses with several years of experience in their area of practice which gives them experience and knowledge to underpin their practice, these courses are usually linked to a post as a trainee ANP. The course covers the pillars of advanced practice (cinical practice, management & leadership, education and research).
Consultant level nursing practice is often the final stage after advanced practice, most consultant nurses I've encountered (all be it very few that I've met) have moved into their role from being an ANP. Often further study at doctoral level is expected. They're still quite rare compared to other nursing roles, but I believe the CNO in England wants to see an increase in nurse consultants. These are usually nurses who are very experienced within their area of nursing, often with a research portfolio supporting their practice.
Considering your own career, my advice is to learn to walk before running. It's ok to have career aspirations however your career is a marathon. Make the most of your experiences as a student and then a staff nurse, it's these foundations that support you throughout your career. You mention emergency nursing, but then say you want to specialise in oncology, there are routes where you can specialise within both those areas of practice, but they may look a bit different to each other (for example an emergency nurse practitioner vs an acute oncology nurse pracitioner). Take your time, find your feet first and you'll find an area of practice that really works for you.
https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/advanced-practice


Thank you so much for your advice! This has really helped me know what I should be doing next steps wise
I recently retired as a senior nurse manager in workforce planning, with previous HE teaching experience.

I agree totally with everything moonkatt has advised.

Decide your area of interest first and work your way into clinical specialism from there.
In my last Trust, a condition of ANP employment was to hold an approved MSc in advanced practice.
There was an in-house development scheme whereby following a rigorous selection process, trainee ANPs undertaking a specific MSc were supported by the employer, with the Masters’ fees paid for.
You might want to look for employers offering this type of development scheme.

Nurse consultants in the Trust were working at a higher level than ANPs and either had or were working towards PhDs or professional doctorates.
Their role includes advanced practice, research and academic teaching, so a really key influential role, not for the faint-hearted. We didn’t have many of them!

Both of these roles were developed to support medical consultants with care of complex patients by registered health professionals.
This freed medical time for the most gravely sick with the most complexity. It’s a reflection of the fact that we have insufficient doctors to deal with demand. Our medical consultants provided clinical supervision and further in-house training.

I hope that helps!
(edited 1 month ago)
P.S. In summary, for advanced/consultant health professional roles

First do your initial degree, whether BSc or MSc

Gain 3-5 years’ practice, learning which clinical area you enjoy most and how to look after people who are unwell

Specialise, learn and develop your skills and knowledge, (including complex patient care, innovation, research, project management, teaching and leadership)

Apply for approved advanced practice trainee roles

Consider consultant practitioner training and work, which will include a doctorate in good institutions. You’ll probably need a 1st class honours or MSc with distinction

This journey is likely to take a good 10 years from the start of your first degree

The level of responsibility is extremely high because the patients you’ll care for are extremely vulnerable and ill. You cannot go into an advanced role straight after qualifying, no matter what academic level you hold!

(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Antique1
I recently retired as a senior nurse manager in workforce planning, with previous HE teaching experience.
I agree totally with everything moonkatt has advised.
Decide your area of interest first and work your way into clinical specialism from there.
In my last Trust, a condition of ANP employment was to hold an approved MSc in advanced practice.
There was an in-house development scheme whereby following a rigorous selection process, trainee ANPs undertaking a specific MSc were supported by the employer, with the Masters’ fees paid for.
You might want to look for employers offering this type of development scheme.
Nurse consultants in the Trust were working at a higher level than ANPs and either had or were working towards PhDs or professional doctorates.
Their role includes advanced practice, research and academic teaching, so a really key influential role, not for the faint-hearted. We didn’t have many of them!
Both of these roles were developed to support medical consultants with care of complex patients by registered health professionals.
This freed medical time for the most gravely sick with the most complexity. It’s a reflection of the fact that we have insufficient doctors to deal with demand. Our medical consultants provided clinical supervision and further in-house training.
I hope that helps!


Thank you so much! Also I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me?
im guessing I become a nurse before a ANP? And if so how much experience should I have first
And want qualifications do I need for ANP?
Will I specialise in something in particular if I become a ANP - what are the options (like cardiology)
Just to clarify I am on my first year of alevels so have a lot of options I can do I’m just not show what it the best route x
Original post by oliviawebb09
Thank you so much! Also I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me?
im guessing I become a nurse before a ANP? And if so how much experience should I have first
And want qualifications do I need for ANP?
Will I specialise in something in particular if I become a ANP - what are the options (like cardiology)
Just to clarify I am on my first year of alevels so have a lot of options I can do I’m just not show what it the best route x


Oh I’ve just read your P.s thank you!!
I think I answered some of your points in the P.S. post.

1. Your first step is to be really clear about the type of work you’re interested in.

The single most important quality for health care is to be absolutely driven about providing quality care and looking after people with kindness, even when this is extremely challenging. Healthcare is relentlessly busy, wherever you work.
If you’re driven by the idea of a good income or even being appreciated, you might be really unhappy!

Have you requested/had work experience or voluntary health care experience locally? If not, try to get some before submitting any applications.

2. Advanced practice is a job role, not a career. You can expect varied job roles in a career.

There are over 300 job roles in the NHS, where you can help people. Most are not in nursing, although it’s the biggest staff group. If you haven’t done so, look at NHS Careers:
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk

In my last organisation, we had many advanced practitioners (APs) who were not nurses (e.g. pharmacists, paramedics in A&E plus helicopter, physiotherapists, speech & language therapists, radiotherapists, health care scientists and many more, smaller professions).

All started in the most junior roles after graduation and were then steadily promoted into increasingly specialist jobs in their departments of interest, often in different organisations.

(Be aware that AP can also stand for ‘associate practitioners’, who work in teams with graduate health care professionals).

4. Specialist areas: I know of APs in
Accident & Emergency
Cancer care
Cardiology
Children’s care (many areas)
Eye care
General practice
Health care sciences
Mental heath care
Midwifery
Muscular-skeletal disorders
Neurology
Operating theatres
Palliative care
Pharmacy
Public Health
Radiotherapy
Rehabilitation
Stroke services
Urgent treatment centres

The opportunities are growing, so there’s plenty of choice.

5. Non-medical health consultant roles are senior clinical leadership roles which involve regional, national and international work.
They usually require a qualification at level 8 (doctoral level).

Every person I know in these roles does academic teaching in universities, research and clinical work with very complicated patients.

6. There’s definitely a niche for everyone in the NHS. You can have a satisfying career and reach a senior level without being an AP or Advanced nurse practitioner (ANP). Other senior job roles in health exist in management, education and research.

7. Decide on which profession and which departments most interest you, and get that work experience if possible!

Hope that helps. Take time to digest it all!
Very best wishes for the future.
Original post by Antique1
I think I answered some of your points in the P.S. post.
1. Your first step is to be really clear about the type of work you’re interested in.
The single most important quality for health care is to be absolutely driven about providing quality care and looking after people with kindness, even when this is extremely challenging. Healthcare is relentlessly busy, wherever you work.
If you’re driven by the idea of a good income or even being appreciated, you might be really unhappy!
Have you requested/had work experience or voluntary health care experience locally? If not, try to get some before submitting any applications.
2. Advanced practice is a job role, not a career. You can expect varied job roles in a career.
There are over 300 job roles in the NHS, where you can help people. Most are not in nursing, although it’s the biggest staff group. If you haven’t done so, look at NHS Careers:
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk
In my last organisation, we had many advanced practitioners (APs) who were not nurses (e.g. pharmacists, paramedics in A&E plus helicopter, physiotherapists, speech & language therapists, radiotherapists, health care scientists and many more, smaller professions).
All started in the most junior roles after graduation and were then steadily promoted into increasingly specialist jobs in their departments of interest, often in different organisations.
(Be aware that AP can also stand for ‘associate practitioners’, who work in teams with graduate health care professionals).
4. Specialist areas: I know of APs in
Accident & Emergency
Cancer care
Cardiology
Children’s care (many areas)
Eye care
General practice
Health care sciences
Mental heath care
Midwifery
Muscular-skeletal disorders
Neurology
Operating theatres
Palliative care
Pharmacy
Public Health
Radiotherapy
Rehabilitation
Stroke services
Urgent treatment centres
The opportunities are growing, so there’s plenty of choice.
5. Non-medical health consultant roles are senior clinical leadership roles which involve regional, national and international work.
They usually require a qualification at level 8 (doctoral level).
Every person I know in these roles does academic teaching in universities, research and clinical work with very complicated patients.
6. There’s definitely a niche for everyone in the NHS. You can have a satisfying career and reach a senior level without being an AP or Advanced nurse practitioner (ANP). Other senior job roles in health exist in management, education and research.
7. Decide on which profession and which departments most interest you, and get that work experience if possible!
Hope that helps. Take time to digest it all!
Very best wishes for the future.


Thank you sm! This has helped me loads x

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