HNC Healthcare Practice (Previously HNC Care and Administrative Practice)

This course is available to staff currently employed as a Clinical Support Worker/Nursing Auxiliary within NHS Lothian. On successful completion of the HNC you will be offered direct entry into second year of the Nurse Education Programme at Edinburgh Napier University.

Venue:  Edinburgh College
Full time: Over 1 year, 2 college days & 1 study day per week
Part time: Over 2 years, 1 college day and ½ day study per week

Course Overview

HNC Healthcare Practice is an innovative course designed to equip you with essential clinical knowledge and understanding. This course will prepare you for an undergraduate degree in Nursing and other health-related fields.

This course will improve both your academic, professional and employability skills and is a step towards a rewarding career in the health sector. It combines the required academic knowledge with the skills and competencies gained from a clinical placement within the care sector. This qualification is also suitable if you want to work as a Health Care Support Worker.

Please be aware there is an option for NHS Lothian staff to study for this course whilst remaining employed in their role as a Clinical Support Worker. Upon completion of the HNC staff can assimilate into year 2 of the BN Nursing programme at Edinburgh Napier University. This endorsed option is a result of collaboration between NHS Lothian, Edinburgh College and Edinburgh Napier University and is only available to employees of NHS Lothian. 

If you are not currently an NHS Lothian employee or do not meet the entry criteria you can still apply to study full time for the HNC in Healthcare Practice at Edinburgh College.  However please note that this HNC will enable you to apply for the 1st year of a university healthcare degree programme. More information on the full time course at Edinburgh College can be found below.

What You Will Learn

  • Clinical Skills for Care Practitioner
  • Professional Standards for Care Practitioners
  • Safe Working Practice
  • The Human Body in Health and Illness
  • Sociology and Health in Scotland
  • Therapeutic Relationships
  • Core and academic skills

Further Information

Further information regarding placement information, entry requirements, English proficiency requirements, how the course is assessed, progression and articulation routes, career opportunities, course cost and funding options and course delivery please visit the Edinburgh College website.

Contact Information

Students from the UK or EU: 
Course Information Line on 0131 297 8300.  

Students from outside the EU: 
or call +44(0) 131 297 9995.  

Course Objectives

The aim of the course is to enable you to obtain the Higher National Certificate (HNC) Healthcare Practice. This enables you to progress into 2nd year of the Pre-registration Nursing Programme (Adult, Mental Health, Learning Disability and Child Health) by agreed access arrangements to Edinburgh Napier University.
The HNC course has been endorsed by National Health Service Education for Scotland (NES) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Progression onto Edinburgh Napier University is conditional on the successful completion of the HNC course, satisfactory attendance at work and college, occupational health check and PVG Disclosure Check. 
The units for the new HNC Healthcare Practice can be viewed on SQA website.


The full-time course fees are paid for by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland. The part-time course fees are paid for by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government pays for the part-replacement costs to your workplace. On successful completion of the HNC, you will enter Year 2 of the Pre-registration Nursing Programme at Edinburgh Napier University.

Entry Requirements

  1. The applicant must have been in employment with NHS Lothian as a Clinical Support Worker/Healthcare Assistant for a minimum period of one year prior to the application closing date.
  2. Applicants must have achieved a minimum of SVQ Level 2/Care Certificate/National Progression Award-Skills for Practice by the closing date. Applicants with other qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.
  3. The application must have the support of their Charge Nurse/Line Manager and the relevant Clinical Nurse Manager.  This support should be agreed prior to any application being submitted by the candidate.  In the absence of such support, applications will not be progressed. 
  4. Applicants who do not have English as their first language there will be a minimum requirement of IELTS 5.5 or equivalent achieved by the closing date.
  5. For applications to the full-time HNC (1 year duration), applicants must be contracted to work a minimum of 35 hours/week from the date the course commences.   
  6. For applications to the part-time HNC (2 years duration), applicants must be contracted to work a minimum of 19 hours/week from the date the course commences.  
  7. As the HNC Healthcare Practice course leads specifically to 2nd year of the Nursing Degree Programme at Edinburgh Napier University the visa status required is Indefinite Leave to Remain. This is a requirement for anyone undertaking a Nursing Degree Programme in Scotland.

Evidence of Indefinite Leave to Remain must be submitted with the application pack by the closing date.

How to Apply

To obtain an application pack or for any further information please the HNC team on:
Edinburgh College Logo

Key HNC Contacts

Lecturer/Practitioner, Edinburgh College/NHS Lothian

Elaine McGuire:

Practice Education Facilitator
Christine Strange: