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Child nursing involves everything from nursing a sick newborn to an adolescent road accident victim. You'll need to consider the care and support needed by the wider family, including parents and carers.
Training and qualifications required
Academic entry requirements for child nursing degrees are set by the individual universities but typically you will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above plus two A-levels or equivalent qualifications at level 3. Some universities may ask for three A-levels or equivalent.
Expected working hours and salary range
Child nurses in the NHS will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week and will start at band 5 of Agenda for Change with opportunities to progress. Many child nurses will work shifts, especially within in-patient departments. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS, such as the police force or prison service.
Desirable skills and values
You’ll need to be able to reassure distressed children, their family and carers. Verbal and non-verbal communication skills are important as well as the ability to play sensitively with a child. It's likely that you'll need to advise or teach the child's parents/carers what they’ll need to do to treat a child at home. Respect, sensitivity and empathy are also important characteristics for a child nurse.
Some nurses decide to do into management, teaching or clinical academic research. With additional education and training, you could also specialise in roles such as health visiting, neo-natal nursing or school nursing. There are also opportunities to become nurse consultants.
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