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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.  

Information sessions about this nursing programme are being delivered in NHS Board areas across Scotland between December 2022 to February 2023. There are more details on our OU Future Nurse Programme - Information Sessions webpage

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. 

OU nursing graduates share their stories

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

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.


Julie Plenderleith

Julie Plenderleith  

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


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.


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.


Keith pictured holding his certificate at the Association of OU Graduates awards

Keith Allan  

Keith Allan, a former healthcare assistant with NHS Ayrshire and Arran who is now in a managerial post, shares how he gained registered nurse status through his OU degree. 


Michaela Olver

Michaela Olver   

Michaela Olver, a former healthcare support worker, fulfilled her childhood dream and become a nurse with NHS Borders thanks to her OU nursing degree.


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