What is a Nurse?
Nurses play a crucial role in improving and safeguarding the health and well-being of the public. They are a critical link between those being treated and the wider medical team, and they are required not only to treat patients who are sick or injured, but also to offer emotional support and advice to patients and their families.
Nursing is a profession which is constantly evolving in order to address the needs of society, from ensuring that diagnoses are accurate, to the continuing education of the public about their health issues.
The nature of work in a nursing job is extremely wide ranging, with there being lots of different specialisms and levels of practice. However, throughout all nursing positions, there is the primary opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives on a daily basis.
What is a Nurse?
Qualifications and Education
A nurses main responsibilities are, but by no means limited to:
- Administering care and treatment to patients, such as taking their blood pressure, handling injections, cleaning wounds and managing medication
- Developing, delivering and explaining care plans to patients and their families
- Assessing new and ongoing patients
- Carrying out risk assessments
- Recording and handling confidential medical administration
- Maintaining accurate records of patients’ care
- Assisting doctors with physical examinations and care plans
- Consulting and coordinating with other healthcare professionals
- Managing stocks of supplies
- Teaching and advising student nurses
To be a successful nurse, you need:
- Intuition for patients’ needs
- Critical thinking
- Communication skills
- Cultural awareness
- Attention to detail
- Counselling skills
- Teamwork skills
- Strong technical competence
- Math skills
- Physical endurance
- Emotional stability
- Strong ethics
- Problem solving skills
As well as the above skills, you will make a brilliant nurse if you have the following personality traits:
- A good sense of humour
Education and Qualifications
Nursing is not the kind of job you can walk into, and along with the above skills, you will need a nursing degree.
The most popular route is to get an undergraduate nursing degree. Exact entry requirements for nursing degrees vary from university to university, but you’ll need at least two (usually 3) A-Levels, highers or equivalent qualifications, backed up with 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A*-C), including English, Maths and Science. If this route interests you, have a look at the hundreds of nursing degree courses available in the UK.
As an alternative to traditional degree courses, you can also consider doing a nursing degree apprenticeship. The NHS Health Careers website has lots of information about healthcare apprenticeship schemes.
To qualify, you also have to become registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. This is something every nurse has to do before they get a nursing job. But as long as you have a degree and your skills are up to scratch, you’ll be approved.
There are a multitude of different nurse role types and the salary differs depending on the position.
For reference however, Payscale determines that the average salary of a registered nurse (RN) – a fully qualified nurse who has undergone training and graduated from a program in nursing – in the UK is £25,084.
Coming in at the lower end of nursing salaries are certified nurse assistants (CNA), with an average salary in the UK of £17,054. And at the higher end of nursing salaries there are nurse practitioners (NP), who recieve an average salary in the UK of £30,074.
It is worth noting that this difference in salary comes with the education and experience required for the role.
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