Healthcare Practice HNC @ SCQF Level 7


HNC Healthcare Practice is for those who want a career in the NHS and care services, particularly if you are looking for a Band 3 position in the NHS or if you are going to go on and study nursing. It will help you develop knowledge and skills as a Health Care Support Worker in acute, clinical and community settings.

In an innovative move we expect induction will be delivered in our partnership with the NHS Clinical Educators. This may take place at Dumfries Campus, Mountainhall and DGRI. You will receive HCSW training which will enable you to join the NHS bank. This may be delivered face to face alongside with UWS 1st year student nurses.

If you want to go further and study Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, or Learning Disability Nursing, this qualification may enable you to apply to university. A summer programme with UWS, combined with additional placement may enable you to progress to 2nd year of Adult or Mental Health Nursing with UWS.

We will be running two cohorts of this HNC, one cohort is specifically run in partnership with the NHS for their staff. Please state in the first line of your application statement if you are currently a HCSW within the NHS.* The other is open to all who meet the entry criteria.

This is a challenging and innovative partnership course and will require considerable independent study. You must be able to cope with the demands of this level of study, and considerable hours of practical placement whilst also supporting people who may be at a vulnerable time in their lives.

The majority of learning is live online lessons, there will be mandatory clinical skills days where you will need to attend in person. There will be two days of lessons and one day of placement each week. Lessons are recorded, some are pre-recorded, this is to allow maximum flexibility for those who are also working or have care responsibilities in the home. Online learning has been very successful in our widespread region, avoiding the need for lengthy journeys to and from college.

Study space is available on campus, and you may bring your own device and headset to the study space.

Practical placement may be within the NHS. Those who already work in the NHS may be able to use their workplace as placement.

We offer a great nurturing environment for this course; we want you to succeed – and we need you to remain motivated and determined to succeed too.

Think about how much time you have and can devote to your study alongside your other commitments.

Course code



Dumfries Campus


Attendance and engagement are expected at 100% at both college lessons and placement.

Induction is FACE TO FACE to ensure you can get on to Teams, our learning platform and log in. You may be attending prior to the start date for your induction.

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of two relevant Highers at B or above, including English and ideally National 5 Maths
  • A Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services & Healthcare will count as one Higher, you must meet the other entry requirements above.
  • A relevant course at SCQF Level 6 or equivalent such as Health and Social Care Theory @ SCQF6 with a good Tutor reference
  • SVQ 3 will also meet entry requirements.
  • You must become a PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) member for which you will be expected to pay £59 or less if you already are a member.
  • You will be required to purchase a uniform for practical placement.
  • Consideration will be given to those with extensive experience of working in a formal social or health care setting who do not meet the academic entry requirements.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English should have ESOL Higher or equivalent
  • Please make sure to answer the Supporting Information Questions on the application form, with as much detail as possible. This will demonstrate your commitment to the course.
  • Make sure your application is accurate and detailed as it helps us to decide if you are to be invited for interview.
  • Read the additional entry requirements carefully before making an application.

*Please note if you are a HCSW within the NHS currently then you must gain the support of your line manager. You must also have regular permanent hours withing the NHS to apply for a place on this cohort. Please also name your supporting line manager in your application.

Information and Interview Session Requirements

Entry is competitive, we have very many more applicants than places available. Sell yourself and tell us how prepared you are to succeed

Course Content

Clinical skills, professional standards, therapeutic relationships, mental health, human body, sociology, and health in Scotland


There are written essays, individual and group presentations, closed book short answer responses and online tests. You must pass all of these, and your attendance is expected to be 100% both at college and placement. At this level you will be expected to study and research in a self-directed way, you may be guided to lessons which are online or on a medium such as Teams. There may be set dates for workshops which could be hybrid delivery.


You may want to seek employment in the health and social care sector at Band 2 or 3
You may apply for the 1st year of a Nursing degree at several universities
You may want to continue your studies in one of the Allied Health professions at a number of universities
You may be able to apply to university to study social work or social sciences courses

You may identify early in the programme that you wish to progress to 2nd year at UWS for adult or mental health nursing

If your intention is progression to university, it is your responsibility to check with that university if the HNC will meet their entry requirements as progression is not automatic. Progression is subject to meeting the entry requirements of the university and it is your responsibility to check if you need additional qualifications for their courses. This course alone is unlikely to meet entry criteria for midwifery, paediatric nursing, or paramedic sciences.

Career Prospects

Health and Social Care Support Worker
Pre-graduate student in Adult, Mental Health, or Learning Disabilities Nursing.

Additional funding information

SAAS funding may be available.

Selling Points

Continuing professional development in a health and social services career improves your employability as well as enhancing your promotion prospects. It may help you on the study path to becoming a Registered Nurse or studying to become a member of one of the other the Allied Health Professions.

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