Nurses are the largest staff group in the NHS. Nurses work in every type of health setting from accident and emergency (A&E) to patients' homes, with people of all ages and backgrounds.
You’ll train in one of the four fields of nursing - adult, child, learning disability or mental health. After gaining employment, you'll find there are lots of opportunities to progress your career and to specialise. Many of these opportunities will require experience and/or further training.
Community or acute?
More nurses than ever are now working in community settings such as a GP practices, clinics, and schools and community hospitals. As more care is moved out of hospitals into the community, this will only increase.
Opportunities will continue to exist in acute hospital settings. Outpatient services, accident and emergency, operating theatres, neonatal care or neurology will always need highly trained and specialist nurses.
If you're caring, compassionate and have a commitment to helping people, you'll find a role that suits you. You'll also need to be able to communicate difficult health issues effectively and courageously.
To become a nurse, you are likely to train in one of the four specialist fields of nursing.
- Adult nursing Expand / Collapse
Adult nurses work with old and young adults with a range of health conditions. They use caring, counselling, managing, teaching and interpersonal skills to improve the quality of patients' lives. Work may be based in hospital wards, clinics or community settings and you may do shift work to provide 24-hour care.
- Children's nursing Expand / Collapse
Children's nurses work with patients in a range of situations e.g. babies born with heart complications, teenagers who have sustained broken limbs and child protection issues. As well as working with children, children’s nurses work with the family or carers to ensure that he or she does not suffer additionally from the stress of being ill or in hospital.
- Learning disability nursing Expand / Collapse
People with learning disabilities often have a wide range of physical and mental health conditions. Learning disability nurses provide specialist care in partnership with clients and their carers. Their main aim is to support the well-being and social inclusion of people with a learning disability by improving or maintaining their physical and mental health. For example, teaching someone the skills to find work can helping them lead a more independent and healthy life.
- Mental health nursing Expand / Collapse
One in three people has a mental health problem at some point in their life. The wide range of conditions treated includes depression and schizophrenia, as well as personality and psychological disorders. Mental health nursing is a complex and demanding area. They work with GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other professionals to help people with mental ill health.