Aiken LH, Sloane DM, Bruyneel L Nurse staffing and education and hospital mortality in nine European countries: a retrospective observational study. Lancet. 2014; 383:(9931)1824-1830

Nurse supply model: a review of economic factors affecting nurse supply. 2021. (accessed 29 August 2023)

Kane RL, Shamliyan TA, Mueller C, Duval S, Wilt TJ. The association of registered nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Med Care. 2007; 45:(12)1195-1204

The King's Fund, The Health Foundation, Nuffield Trust. The health care workforce in England: make or break?. 2018. (accessed 29 August 2023)

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. 2023 cycle applicant figures – 25 January deadline. 2023. (accessed 29 August 2023)

Nursing applications in decline

07 September 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 16

A disconcerting trend within the UK's healthcare sector has recently emerged, marked by a noticeable decrease in applications to study nursing for the academic year 2023-2024. This data, recently released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) (2023), starkly contrasts with the surge in interest seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential ramifications of this downturn are wide-reaching and could pose severe challenges to the healthcare sector, particularly affecting the quality of patient care.

UCAS reports a nearly 20% decrease in nursing applications across all age groups within the UK, as of the January deadline. The total number of individuals applying to study nursing from autumn 2023 stands at 33 570, which represents a drop of more than 7600 compared to the same time in 2022, equating to a decrease of 18.5%. The current figures reflect a 3% decrease from January 2020 and only a 3% increase from 2019 (UCAS, 2023).

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content