Healthcare providers across Scotland can benefit from the OU’s unique open-access programmes which enable their staff to become nurses.  

Helen Kafantari Maciver at Western Isles Hospital. Photo by Leila Angus.Staff at all NHS Boards in Scotland can participate in the OU Future Nurse programme. The funded programme includes routes for those already working in healthcare support worker roles to become registered nurses. 

We also work in partnership with employers in the independent healthcare sector to help them to develop their staff.

OU students can remain in employment to ‘earn as they learn’ and employers can retain their workforces.

There are many different routes into nursing, as shown below and in our brochure Pathways into nursing with The Open University in Scotland (.pdf).

OU Future Nurse Programme - Pre-Registration Nursing Degrees: 

Bachelor of Science (Honours) Nursing degrees - can enable healthcare support workers to become nurses.

These degrees are approved by the Nursing Midwifery Council and all four fields of nursing practice are offered: adult, mental health, learning disability, and children and young people.

Places are funded by the Scottish Government and the OU’s open access ethos and distance learning approach means that the university is open to everyone, regardless of qualifications or location; no qualifications are required for most OU courses and students can study where and when suits their lives.  

Certificate, Diplomas and Postgraduate qualifications:  

Courses suitable for healthcare workers also include: 

Courses for registered nurses include: 

Employers can sponsor their students for this range of qualifications. Other potential financial support options are on our fees and funding page, including the part-time fee grant for undergraduate students with personal incomes of less than £25,000. 

More information

If you would like to find out more about the nursing programme and the entry requirements, you can read our information booklet (.pdf). You can also complete our enquiry form to register your interest and to be sent an application pack when applications open early in 2024.

OU nursing graduates share their stories

Find out more about OU nursing studies from some of our graduates:

OU nursing graduate Elvira

Elvira Viray 

Elvira Viray fulfilled her dream of becoming a full-time staff nurse in a Highlands care home through OU studies: doing an access course to nursing, then an Honours degree.

Helen Kafantari Maciver

Helen Kafantari Maciver  

Helen Kafantari Maciver shares her journey from healthcare assistant to staff nurse with NHS Western Isles, via an Open University degree in this blog and video.

OU nursing graduate Jenny

Jenny Welsh  

Accident and Emergency staff nurse Jenny Welsh was a healthcare assistant in her local Shetland maternity ward when she decided to study for an OU nursing degree.

Julie Plenderleith

Julie Plenderleith  

"I carried on for my dad to make him proud" says graduate nurse Julie Plenderleith.

Kombe Mwarandu

Kombe Mwarandu  

Before he was an award-winning nurse, Kombe Mwarandu was as a receptionist at his local GP surgery. He shares how achieving his OU Adult Nursing degree has enabled him to achieve his career dreams.

Leeanne MacPherson - photo by Neil Hanna

Leeanne MacPherson  

Keeping it in the family, Leeanne MacPherson followed in their footsteps and trained to become a nurse with The Open University, and has since encouraged her sister to do the same.

Lois Gaffney

Lois Gaffney  

Lois Gaffney's OU nursing studies enabled her to upskill while working as a healthcare support worker at a hospital in Shetland. This led her to win Nursing Student of the Year 2022 at the prestigious Royal College of Nursing Scotland awards.

Mahri Carmichael

Mahri Carmichael  

Mahri Carmichael is a healthcare support worker and learning disabilities nursing OU degree student. In this blog, she reflects on her route into nursing and choosing this specialism.

COVID-19: if you have questions about the delivery of our programmes in the coronavirus pandemic, contact our nursing team for the latest information.