Training and development (adult nursing)

This page has information on the training and development opportunities in adult nursing.

After studying to become an adult nurse, you need to be committed to learning and always keep your skills and knowledge up to date. 


To maintain your registration to practise with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, you’ll need to go through the process of revalidation.

The process is straightforward and will help you as a nurse or midwife to demonstrate that you practise safely and effectively. You will have to revalidate every three years to renew your registration. 

Find out more about revalidation on the NMC microsite.

If you are employed by the NHS and wish to undertake further training, you should speak with your line manager. Discussions around training and development opportunities should form a part of your personal development plan (PDP).

Development opportunities

After qualifying and gaining some clinical experience, there are a variety of routes you could take as the next step in your career. You could specialise in a certain field such as operating theatres, care for the elderly or intensive care. Some nurses decide to move into management or clinical academic research.

Nurse consultants

As you gain more experience, you might be able to apply for jobs as a nurse consultant. You would spend a minimum of 50% of your time working directly with patients. You'll also have a number of other roles and responsibilities including:

  • developing personal practice
  • involvement in research
  • contributing to the education, training and development of other nurses

Consultant nurse roles are specialised and posts are created based on the health needs of local communities. They are also among the highest paid nurses in the NHS.

NHS Leadership Academy

The NHS Leadership Academy runs a number of programmes to support adult nurses into leadership roles including the Mary Seacole programme. They also offer a programme purely for frontline nurses and midwives to help develop their skills and build confidence.

More information on the NHS Leadership Academy and its programmes.

Education and training roles  

Education, training the professional development of the next generation of nurses is vital to delivery of patient care. Nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses can get involved through a number of roles:

  • preceptors
  • mentors
  • practice educators
  • lecturers

Click on the links below for further information about these roles. 

Nursing careers resource

A careers resource has been jointly developed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Health Education England (HEE) to help registered nurses and the clinical support workforce plan their health careers effectively. It shows different ways that you can develop your career from a band 5 role with case studies, videos and next steps.

Visit the RCN/HEE careers resource for registered band 5 nurses

  • Preceptors offer guidance and support to newly qualified nurses. They will be qualified practitioners and normally have experience in the area of practice as the practitioner requiring support.

  • Mentors or assessors are responsible for a range of activity and learning for student nurses, such as the quality of the learning in a practice setting and the assessment of a student's competence.

  • Practice educators lead the teaching and development in the practical setting rather than the theoretical setting which would be led by a lecturer. The practice educator will provide guidance and support to mentors involved with students and will provide a link between the practice setting and the university.

  • The lecturer is responsible for classroom teaching in higher education institutions. The role is similar to that of the practice educator in the practice environment and both roles have equal standing.

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