HNC Healthcare Practice is for those who want a career in the NHS and care services, particularly nursing. It will help you develop knowledge and skills as a Health Care Support Worker in acute, clinical and community settings. 
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. 
Preference will be given to those already working in the NHS as a Health Care Support Worker, who want to further their career through study and practice. 
This is a challenging course and will require considerable independent study. You must be able to cope with the demands of this level of study, and 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 prior to placement where you will be attending at Dumfries campus. There will be two days of lessons and one day of placement each week. 


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


Practical placement may be within the NHS or local Nursing/Care Homes. Those who already work in the NHS may be able to use their workplace as placement.

Course code





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

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. 
  • There will be a cost for uniform if you are not in your place of work 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. 

Information and Interview Session Requirements

For this course we will not be routinely offering interviews. Please ensure you complete your application and supporting information with as much information as possible to allow us to make a decision on your suitability for a place on the course. 

We may contact you by phone if we have further questions.

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 will not always be face to face lessons in college.


You may want to seek employment in the health and social care sector
You may apply for the 1st year of a Nursing degree at a number of 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 

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.