Nursing Top-Up Degree Apprenticeship BSc (Hons)

Part-time undergraduate (22 months)

Chelmsford, Cambridge

May, October

May - all routes, October (subject to approval) - Adult and Child routes only.


If you’ve successfully completed a foundation degree in nursing, or a related subject, top-up to a full honours degree and become a registered child, adult or mental health nurse. Study while you work, with no tuition fees.

Full description
One of the top 10 UK universities for nursing
Nursing Times
31 August 2016


On successful completion of this course and the endpoint assessment, you'll be ready to work as a qualified nurse. You'll also be able to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council for your specialist area of practice.

Modules & assessment

Part 1, core modules

  • Fundamental Knowledge and Skills for Nursing (Level 4)
    This module prepare students in all fields of nursing for the knowledge and skills required to deliver fundamental and safe care. Key themes include: the importance of patient safety, the safeguarding of vulnerable people and the key drivers underpinning this; practical, communication and team working skills; the development of knowledge in relation to human anatomy and physiology; understanding the concept of health and an introduction to the prevention of ill-health and promotion of healthy behaviours in recognition of the nurse’s role in public health; the development of leadership skills, exploring self-awareness in relation to leadership; fundamental care; physical and mental health care needs; essential study skills such as identifying personal learning styles, literature searching, preparing reference lists, presentation skills, reflective practice, understanding marking criteria and using feedback. You will be assessed on your understanding of personal, lay and professional perspectives of health through a team presentation, and on your bioscience knowledge through a multiple choice exam.
  • Professional Knowledge and Values for Nursing Practice (Level 4)
    To support apprentices from all fields of nursing in their understanding of the professional values and attributes expected of a registered nurse, we explore the professional and NHS Constitution values from a range of perspectives. Individualised care that responds to human needs rather than system-driven protocols is of paramount importance, therefore you'll identify the significance of prioritising patients as central to the role of the nurse and a key component of the NMC Code. Person-centred care is addressed through the exploration of patient autonomy and patients’ rights, including advocacy, raising concerns and using candour within legal and ethical parameters. You will also build on your knowledge of bioscience and clinical skills to further enhance delivery of safe and fundamental care, communication skills across a range of service user groups including those with sensory impairment, learning difficulties and dementia, and an appreciation of health inequalities, health behaviours and the challenges faced by individuals in managing their health. Students’ understanding of values based health care and the professional knowledge used to deliver safe care is assessed through a written reflection and bioscience knowledge is assessed through a multi-choice exam.
  • Medicines Calculation for Safe Practice 1
    You will develop your competence in basic medicines calculations relating to tablets and capsules, liquid medicines, and injections.

Part 2, core modules

Part 2, choose two modules based on your specialism

  • Contemporary Challenges in Adult Health Care (adult nursing specialism)
    Here, the complexities of long-term conditions and palliative care for adult patients are explored, with the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology, pharmacology, ethical and legal issues and challenges faced by those affected by long term and life limiting conditions. Effective integrated care is critical to the patient experience and apprentices will explore the impact of national drivers from a theoretical and practice based perspective, with a focus on the use and effectiveness of care pathways. Preventing the development of long-term conditions and life-threatening disease, promoting health and wellbeing and supporting adults with long term conditions to live well independently are key aspects of the nurse’s role. Apprentices will explore the concept of empowerment and the factors (psychological, physiological, social-economic and genomic) influencing a person’s health choices and readiness for change. An understanding of national policy and the ‘Framework for Personalised Care and Population Health for Nurses, Midwives, Health Visitors and Allied Health Professionals’ will enable you to engage with the importance of nurses as health promoting practitioners, delivering person-centred care and Making Every Contact Count. The assessment for this module requires you to take a case study approach and consider the patient journey, analysing the effectiveness of integrated care for a patient with a long-term condition or life-shortening illness.
  • Recognising and Responding to the Acutely Ill Patient (adult nursing specialism)
    Patients become acutely unwell in clinical or home settings. Accurate recording of clinical information, eg observation, medication and fluid balance is essential in the early recognition of an acute deterioration in patients and crucial if patients are to receive the best quality care and timely admission to critical care areas. This has led to the development and use of guidelines and policies that promote a structured process for risk assessment, monitoring and communication to optimise patient outcome. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has highlighted the recognition of patients’ clinical deterioration and the management of unstable patients as key skills in the Standards for Pre-registration Nursing Education. This module will provide you with the knowledge, skills and experience to recognise, communicate and respond competently, with care and compassion, when a patient’s clinical condition indicates that they are becoming acutely unwell. You will explore how psychological well-being can impact on recovery and the importance of patient focused care and empowerment, with a focus on the ABCDE approach. You'll participate in clinical scenarios around deteriorating patients (eg patients experiencing acute respiratory failure, hypovolaemic shock, acute coronary syndrome, and sepsis). Computer-controlled mannequins in hi-tech simulation skills environments are used to develop skills in recognising and responding to patient deterioration. You will formatively peer assess the technical and non-technical skills (caring, compassion, communication, team working, decision making and situation awareness) during the scenarios. This module is assessed via a multi-choice questionnaire exam, a written exam and assessment of practice outcomes in the practice setting
  • Exploring Contemporary issues in Children and Young People's Nursing (child nursing specialism)
    Using your previous knowledge and experience as a starting point, you will explore present-day issues in child nursing across a wide range of areas in both practice and the classroom. Apprentices will develop an understanding of: the assessment needs of children and young people to plan and deliver care in a variety of different practice areas; the importance of assessment, communication and partnership within an inter professional framework of care; the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to meet the needs of children, young people and their families/carers; the developmental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual needs of children and young people; the importance of the explicit knowledge required to deliver holistic family-centred care; the factors that may impact on the health and wellbeing of children across a variety of settings; the factors which enable and those which inhibit children and young people from achieving their innate potential, taking into account their cultural, spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, developmental and social needs; ensuring that what they offer is designed to meet the children's expectations and needs whilst respecting the rights of and considering the needs of the whole family; the role of the children's nurse, focusing on the implications for children and young people living in contemporary society; the children's nurse's role in health promotion and the local, national and international policy which influence strategies and initiatives will be considered; how research, health care legislation and policy determine best practice for children’s nurses will support students to examine practice and approach change in a dynamic way. Simulated skills will take place, with an assessment involving a child /young person and family-led case study, where the apprentice will review the development and wellbeing of the child/ young person and their family and opportunities for children’s nurses to become involved in promoting the health of the family unit
  • Holistic Care for the Acutely Ill Child and Young Person (child nursing specialism)
    Sick children and young people require nursing in a variety of settings, to meet their individual needs. This module will enable you to challenge your existing knowledge and skills of nursing assessment and prepare you to care for seriously ill children and young people. The main theme of the module will address your ability to recognise and manage potentially seriously ill children and young people competently with care and compassion, and to care for those who are stable but in a critical condition (eg awaiting transfer to a higher dependency environment or care in an emergency environment). This module will be assessed via an Objective Structured Clinical Examination, with a 2,000-word reflection on lessons learned from this.
  • Values and Engagement in Mental Health (mental health nursing specialism)
    This module will explore the nature of mental illness and mental health nursing practice within a biopsychosocial, cultural and historical context. You will be asked to identify and explore both the purpose and process of assessment and care planning with people using mental health services. The module intends to challenge your pre-existing values, beliefs and opinions and aims to facilitate the development of core principles that support a philosophy of recovery-led and service user-focused care across the lifespan. This module will be assessed via an Objective Structured Clinical Examination, with a 2,000-word reflection on lessons learned from this.
  • Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health (mental health nursing specialism)
    The focus of this module is on the nurse as an agent of change and as developing increasing autonomy, and encourages the acquisition of skills and specific theoretical knowledge around therapeutic engagement and interventions within mental health care. You will critically review theory and practice of engaging with service users and their carers in care planning and contemporary therapeutic interventions, ranging from prevention, to treatments, to continuing development. You'll analyse socially inclusive practice, focusing on how the promotion of dignity influences participation, the result of interventions and how practice-based evidence can both challenge and assist clinical decision making. Assessment will be through a written case study on your placement in a practice setting and the development of your practice competencies.

Part 3, core modules

  • Leadership and Decision Making in Nursing (Level 6)
    This module aims to develop your ability to take responsibility, be aware of issues of accountability, and act as a leader in the practice setting and advocate for patient safety. It also promotes your growth in self-awareness and personal development through reflection and clinical supervision. While studying the module, you will act as a leader, coach, supporter and supervisor for junior colleagues. Through promoting shared and peer learning, and teaching junior colleagues, you will begin to acquire leadership skills, while simultaneously engaging in a culture that is focused upon learning, support and transparency. Supported by mentors, you'll gain experience of complex situations, in which clinical decision making supports, patient safety and effective team working. The theory assessment is a 3,000-word written assignment focusing on the development of leadership skills to support effective practice and the production of a supporting vodcast demonstrating apprentices’ ability to use technology in communication, and act as a leader, coach/ role model.
  • Promoting Quality in Nursing
    Making the transition from apprentice to qualified practitioner involves adjusting to a new and challenging role, accepting additional and different responsibilities and further developing the complex skills required of a registered nurse. The purpose of this module is to consolidate the knowledge, skills and attitudes already gained in order to demonstrate competence in managing patient care at the point of professional registration. Understanding the place of clinical governance, standard setting and audit in providing and maintaining quality care for service users is important to all health care professionals. Risk assessment and management are equally as important in supporting patient safety and you will have the opportunity to consider how patient safety may be enhanced through an exploration of human factors and system design. During your final practice placement, you'll be expected to negotiate an area for service improvement to enhance the patient experience, and to demonstrate your understanding of research by undertaking a literature review (essay) around the area of practice to be developed. You will also prepare an action plan to support the potential implementation of their service improvement.
  • Medicines Calculation for Safe Practice 3
    You will develop your competence in basic medicines calculations relating to tablets and capsules, liquid medicines, and injections.


On this top-up course, you'll study a range of modules before completing an endpoint assessment. This is supervised by an independent assessor, and includes:

  • a reflective essay, focusing on leadership, management and team working; professional values; nursing practice and decision making; communication and interpersonal skills; and the values and behaviours described in the Standard being applied in the context of your nursing practice
  • reflection on a chosen scenario (15 minutes) followed by a professional discussion (60 minutes).

You'll be able to select one of four possible scenarios related to your specialist field (adult, child or mental health nursing). The independent assessor will encourage a two-way dialogue about your chosen scenario.

Successful completion of the endpoint assessment allows you to finish your degree apprenticeship and register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

Degree apprenticeships are funded by your employer and the Government


Entry requirements

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Essential requirements:

  • Employment in a suitable healthcare environment on a permanent contract of at least 30 hours per week (ideally 37.5 hours per week)
  • Employer support to undertake this course
  • Confirmed eligibility to be funded as an Apprentice as set out within the ESFA’s Funding Rules
  • Foundation Degree in Nursing, Assistant Practitioner (Nursing) or Health and Social Care, or equivalent Level 5 qualification, from which up to 180 credits can be applied as Accredited Prior Learning (APL)*
  • Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English, eg GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above (or equivalent)
  • An enhanced level Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure is a check with police forces and local authorities in the UK to ascertain whether or not you are suitable to work with certain groups of vulnerable people. These checks are required to be carried out on all prospective students to ensure the safety of our client group.
    Further information on DBS disclosure will be sent at a later date if you are successful and firmly accept your place at ARU.
    Occupational Health clearance from your employer

* You will be expected to demonstrate evidence of currency of knowledge and development if your Foundation Degree was completed more than three years previously.

Only on provision of the evidence to demonstrate that you meet the requirements listed above will you be invited to attend an interview.

All students will be required to complete an APCL / APEL portfolio to ensure mapping to the Degree top-up to professional requirements and Anglia Ruskin University modules.

Please note: you will need to have the National Care Certificate (Health) to undertake the End Point Assessment. If you do not hold this, you will be able to complete this during your Foundation Degree programme to enable you to take the EPA. If you are intending to top-up your Higher Apprenticeship qualification, you will not eligible to start the Degree Apprenticeship course unless the ESFA has received confirmation that you have successfully completed your EPA for the preceding Apprenticeship.

You will be required to provide one reference from someone who knows you in your current (preferable), or most recent, healthcare role to identify your attitude to study and learning.

Applicants from outside the European Economic Area must provide evidence of achievement of the English Language Testing System (IELTS) test: a minimum overall level of 7 in the test. However, a level 6.5 in writing will be accepted alongside a level 7 in each of reading, listening and speaking.

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