Open University Future Nurse Curriculum

Since 2002, we have delivered a highly successful work-based pre-registration nursing programme in partnership with healthcare employers in Scotland. Our Future Nurse curriculum commenced in Oct 2020 to meet the standards for nursing education published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2018). 

Students study one of the four fields of nursing in preparation for entry to the NMC register within one of these fields:

  • Adult Nursing
  • Children and Young People’s Nursing 
  • Learning Disability Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing

Our BSc (Hons) Nursing supports employers to develop their Healthcare Support Workers (HCSWs) towards registration with the NMC. Students study flexibly alongside work, with a balance of theory and practice delivered through a combination of work-based, face-to-face and distance learning. Enquiry-based learning will be one of the approaches used to facilitate this learning.  

The programme commences once a year in October and takes 4 years to complete (215 weeks).  More information on the programme can be found here.

Current students will have access to their modules and university support via their student Home website. 

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Future Nurse Programme Overview

The nursing degree programme is a balance of theory and practice studied part-time over 4 years, offering the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and professional values of healthcare support workers.

To progress through the qualification, you are required to integrate theoretical learning (learning for practice) and practice-based learning in order to inform the delivery of safe, effective, compassionate, person and family-centered care. Learn more about learning in practice here.

As you progress, you are expected to learn and practice increasingly independently and will be encouraged to form ‘communities of learning’ with other students on the qualification. This will be promoted through online discussion forum activities, online tutorials using Adobe Connect, telephone and email contact. Practice supervisors (PS), practice assessors (PA) and practice tutors/academic assessors (PT/AA) will facilitate and support your practice learning in each setting where you gain experience.

The programme is delivered in 3 parts with each part incorporating a theory and practice module. You can access further detailed information on the programme and modules content here


Views from employer-partners – “a win-win for trust and staff alike”

Our partners, students and mentors discuss the pre-registration nursing programme 

Employer Responsibilities

The Scottish Government commissions the OU to recruit students onto the Future Nurse programme and they pay for the OU to deliver the programme.  They also provide backfill money to employers to enable you to be released for supernumerary student placements and support you to complete your theory. When you are not on placement you will work in your normal HCSW role. 

Each NHS Board area has an employer link who works in partnership with an allocated OU Staff Tutor to support the recruitment and management of students on the programme.  You also have the support of your line manager. 

Student Support

Students at the OU are provided with a range of support whilst completing the theoretical and practical components of the programme. You can access this support via your OU Student Home website and your module tutors, PT/AA, PS and PA. Further information can be found in your PAD and your programme handbook. 
Frequently Asked Questions
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Key Contacts

NHS Lothian: Billy Jackson 
NHS Borders: Julia Hume or 
NHS Lothian: Fiona MacKinnon
NHS Borders: Lorraine Malcolm 
OU PT/AA and OU module tutor: You will find their contact details on your Student Home webpage