If you’re looking for a rewarding career that will provide you with emotional as well as financial satisfaction, then you’ll find that nursing is one of the best. Nursing also offers lots of variety with the potential for specialising in one particular field, such as working with children on a paediatric ward or assisting surgeons in an operating theatre. You can help to care for older people, women in a maternity ward or undertake general nursing duties.

Education and training

The first step is to get your pre-registration nursing degree at a college or university that is an Approved Educational Institution (AEI). You can find further educational information from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). In fact, once you’ve obtained your degree, you will need to register with the NMC or the Royal College of Nursing in order to work as a nurse. Your degree will include theory as well as practical elements, and as student nurse, part of your time will be spent on placement in a medical setting.

Specialist nursing

Studying nursing means choosing one of four general areas of work, though some degrees offer the chance to study two. These general areas focus on:

There are loans and grants available for studying, some of which depend on your household income. Some universities also offer nursing scholarships or bursaries.

Finding work

Nurses work in both the public and the private sector. The NHS and the British Armed Forces are both employers who recruit nurses, while in the private sector you may be working for an independent medical organisation or a charity. There is plenty of flexibility, therefore, depending on your preferences in terms of where you want to work and whether you’re looking for a part-time or full-time post. Agencies also supply nurses to hospitals or other medical organisations when they are needed.

If you are attracted by the idea of being independent, you can choose to contract out your services and work for an umbrella company. An umbrella company will handle PAYE and national insurance payments on your behalf, saving you the trouble of dealing with the administrative and legal requirements with which all contractors have to comply. This has the advantage of allowing you to choose when and where to work, so that a wider variety of options are available.

Terms and conditions

Pay rates for nurses vary; however, they are generally dependent on your skills and record of service. Salaries for qualified nurses in the NHS start at between £21,162 and £28,180 per annum, depending on whether you are going to be working unsocial hours or living in a high-cost location. Pay increases in line with the responsibilities of the job, as you would expect, as well as years of service and any extra educational qualifications gained during your career.

Nursing is a truly worthwhile occupation, and while it’s not without its stresses and strains, as with any working role, most nurses are dedicated to their job and find it rewarding and fulfilling.

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