Almost two thirds of institutions offering nursing degrees are increasing their entry requirements in the face of unprecedented demand for places, an investigation by HSJ’s sister title Nursing Times has revealed.

The survey of higher education institutions also found huge variation in the grades universities ask from prospective nurses and in the amount of time students spend on placement.

Entry requirements for nursing degrees ranged from 80 points, equivalent to one C grade at A-level, to 320, equivalent to an A and two Bs. Time on placement ranged from 53 weeks to 85 weeks over a three year degree.

Of the 54 universities that responded to a request for information about their three year undergraduate adult nursing programme, 62 per cent had increased entry requirements or were considering doing so, mainly due to high demand.

Universities were asking for an average of 235 points for their next intake, equivalent to three Cs at A-level.

From next year applicants to the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing at King’s College London must have 320 UCAS points, making it the toughest course to get on to academically in the UK.