Don't Delay Study Plans for the NHS; Caring about the Job: There Is a Wide Variety of Health Courses to Choose from New Skills Required: Staff Often Move within the NHS

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Byline: SARAH RICHARDSON

AS THE National Health Service celebrates its 60th anniversary thisyear, the career opportunities it offers are growing up, too.

Universities and colleges are offering flexible and specialist courses suitablefor returners, career changers and those already working in the health sectorwho are looking to skill up. And the growth in New Year and spring start datesmeans you don't have to shelve your ambitions until the autumn.

The University of Surrey, for example, still has places available on the Marchintake of its Diploma of Higher Education BSc (Ordinary) Degree in NursingStudies (Adult Nursing).

Both Surrey's degree and diploma programmes lead to professional nurseregistration, and are divided between academic study and practical experience.

The BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies programme has an extended project within thethird year, further developing research skills, an understanding of thescientific basis of nursing plus management and communication skills.

Diploma students who do very well may be given the chance to proceed to a BSc.

Surrey's Nursing programmes are taught by experienced nurse tutors andacademics from various disciplines. To ensure seamless links between theory andpractice, staff work closely with colleagues in local NHS Trusts and relatedservices.

Each student has a personal tutor for support during the programme.

A "home" NHS Trust area is allocated for students' practice placements andregistered nurses qualified to be student mentors guide learning on aday-to-day basis. Many Surrey students obtain employment in their trusts at theend of the programme.

For health professionals keen to develop skills for career progression as partof the NHS "Agenda for Change" initiative, Middlesex University is offering afull-time New

MSc Obstetric and Gynaecological Science with a January start date. Deliveredin Middlesex's state-of-the-art [pounds sterling]2 million biomedical science laboratories, thebroad-based curriculum is suitable for a range of health professionals with aninterest in reproductive medicinea fast-growing sector with demand for well-qualified graduates.

The courses covers advanced academic, laboratory and research training inmodern cellular, molecular and clinical aspects of human reproductive biologyone of the most rapidly emerging science disciplines of the 21st century.Students will develop practical, methodological and analytical skills forbiomedical research and explore current research in reproductive biology.

The course has a high laboratorybased component. Students will also have thechance to be involved in internationally recognised clinical research.

Preferably, applicants need a second class honours degree or above inBiological Science. However, applications are judged on an individual basis andadmission is subject to interview.

The University of East London (UEL) has an established programme of courses,with more than 1,200 students expected to enrol for next month's start date ona range of degrees and courses. …