Naval Nurse (Student)

Service:Surface Fleet
Hands on
Humanitarian aid
Student naval nurse at work

High demand role

This is a highly competitive role with a potential long lead time to join.

You may wish to consider joining the Royal Navy as a Medical Assistant (Submariner).

Medical Assistant (Submariner) Or visit the Role Finder

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Joining the Royal Navy as a Student Nurse means you’ll get paid to study your BSc in Adult Nursing as Birmingham City University, completely paid for by us. You’ll complete Initial Naval Training at HMS Raleigh before starting university in either Sept or January, depending on when you get your A-level results. You’ll train alongside other military students, which means you’ll have great academic and personal support for the duration of your training. Once you’ve qualified, you’ll start at one of our Joint Hospital Group Units in Plymouth, Portsmouth or Birmingham. Personnel are embedded into the NHS trusts in these areas, where you’ll consolidate your nurse training. You’ll begin preceptorship and a 2-year foundation programme which enables you to rotate through different clinical areas. You’ll then get ready to deploy when required on one of our medical capabilities. You’ll have further opportunities to specialise in different areas, including Critical care, emergency medicine, primary care (and many more).

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Complete your BSc in Adult Nursing at Birmingham City University
  • Once qualified, you’ll consolidate your training during preceptorship and the foundation programme 
  • Maintain clinical skills working alongside the NHS within a Joint Hospital Group Unit
  • Deploy in challenging environments all over the world
  • Take opportunities to carry out specialist courses in areas including Intensive Care,  Emergency Medicine, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Primary Care and many more
  • Become part of a world-class medical service that’s respected far beyond the Armed Forces

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • BSc (Hons) in Adult Nursing
  • You could have the opportunity for further post-graduate study in specialist clinical areas
  • Ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities
  • Standard and enhanced learning credits for personal and professional development
  • Civilian recognised Leadership and Management Opportunities

Skills you'll develop

  • Command, leadership and management training with recognised civilian qualifications
  • Clinical mentorship roles
  • Ability to work outside your comfort zone in unfamiliar and challenging environments
  • Leadership and management
  • Adaptability and flexibility to carry your nursing skills into any situation

Career progression

What you'll need


  • Aged 17 and a half to 39
  • Multiple entry points exist to gain 120 UCAS points; check with MSAT PO as not all accepted
  • At least 3 GCSEs at grades A-C (9-4) (or Scottish equivalent), which must include English Language, Mathematics and a Science subject. Other Level 2 study may be considered
  • Be a British or Irish national, or a Commonwealth citizen, or a Dual National
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • Passionate and enthusiastic with an eagerness to learn
  • Quick thinking and calm under pressure
  • A caring and compassionate nature
  • A team player
  • An adventurous spirit

Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Student Nurse Selection Board

    This is a 1 day board held every February in Portsmouth where you will deliver a 10-minute presentation on a clinical subject, take part in a team working exercise and sit a 30-40 minute interview with the Nurse Education Advisor and Specialist Medical Recruitment Team. 

  • Royal Navy Acquaint Course (RNAC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh. University intakes are either September or January, depending on when you get your A-level results. You’ll start at HMS Raleigh 12-14 weeks before you’re due to join BCU.

Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career. 

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

After you’ve done your Basic Training, you’ll study for your degree at Birmingham City University, and receive extra military training alongside your university requirements. Once you’re qualified as a Naval Nurse, you’ll complete a Transition to Military Practice course at DMS Whittington before joining one of the Joint Hospital Group Units in Plymouth, Portsmouth or Birmingham.

You’ll complete your preceptorship programme, start signing off your Defence Operational Nursing Competencies and start the 2 year foundation programme. This will give you the opportunity to rotate between acute medical and surgical wards as well as gaining experience in specialist areas including Critical Care, the emergency department or burns and plastics.