A pre-election pledge saw the Government promise 50,000 more nurses.
The number of people accepted onto nursing courses in England has risen by 14% on last year with 18,250 accepted for the 2020/21 academic year.
This Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said the increase is welcome but has warned it remains far below what is needed to address the nearly 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone.
Earlier this year the Government introduced a £5,000 living grant for all nursing students and increased spending on nursing apprenticeships.
A pre-election pledge saw the Government promise 50,000 more nurses in England by the end of this Parliament, but the union has warned that despite the latest boost in numbers the government is likely to fall short of this target.
The RCN has said that an upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review is the perfect opportunity to abolish self-funded tuition fees for all nursing students as well as introducing universal living maintenance grants that reflect actual student need.
With around 40,000 nursing vacancies and a recent RCN survey showing that nearly a third of all nurses are considering leaving the profession – urgent action is needed.
Mike Adams, RCN Director for England said: “I am delighted to see the rise in the number of people accepted onto nursing courses and I wish them all very best as they set out on the journey towards what is an incredible career in nursing.
“Whilst we will continue to keep the pressure on Government to do more to value our students, anyone considering nursing today can be sure that the profession itself is ready to welcome you in and support you throughout your career”
The Government claims that COVID-19 has caused a spike in interest to study nursing and other healthcare-related topics.