Nurses care for adults who are sick, injured or have physical disabilities.
Salary range: £24,214 to £37,267
How to become a nurse
You can get into this career through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
You can do a degree in adult nursing approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council.
Some degree courses let you study another area of nursing alongside adult nursing.
You may be able to join the second year of a nursing degree if you already have a degree in:
- a health-related subject
- life sciences
- social work
Full-time courses usually take 3 years.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 2 or 3 A levels, including a science, or a level 3 diploma or access to higher education in health, science or nursing
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You may be able to do a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting like a hospital.
The apprenticeship takes around 4 years and is a mix of academic study and on-the-job training.
You must be supported by your employer to take this route.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
You’ll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in social care or healthcare work before you apply for nurse training.
- you’ll need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to work well with others
- a desire to help people
- knowledge of psychology
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
In this role you will:
- take temperatures, blood pressures and pulse rates
- help doctors with physical examinations
- give drugs and injections
- clean and dress wounds
- set up drips and blood transfusions
- use medical equipment
- monitor patients’ progress
- update patient records and handover information to colleagues at the end of a shift
- work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to decide what care to give
- give advice to patients and their relatives
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a health centre, at a hospice, at an adult care home, at a client’s home or in a prison.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could specialise in a particular field such as intensive care or operating theatre work, or become a nursing sister, ward manager or team leader.
You could train as a midwife, neonatal nurse, health visitor, or district or practice nurse. You could also move into management, as a matron or director of nursing.
With a postgraduate qualification, you could become an advanced nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist, then a nurse consultant. There are opportunities to go into teaching and research.
You could also become self-employed or work overseas.
You can find out more about career progression from the Royal College of Nursing.