| James Innes

Careers in Nursing - A The CV Centre UK Guide


Nursing is considered by many to be one of the most demanding career options but it can also be highly rewarding as the results of your actions may make a huge difference to the health and well being of your clients. Nursing is also a diverse career choice offering numerous fields in which to specialise ranging from mental health, children’s nursing and midwifery to elderly care and learning disabilities. Nurses can be community-based or work within GP practices and hospitals and can also be based within residential care homes and in teaching establishments.


Although there are no national minimum entry requirements other than a basic understanding of numeracy and literacy, before embarking upon a career in nursing, it is important to consider whether or not you possess the key strengths and personality traits required to work in such a challenging profession. Not only must you have a caring nature and the ability to interact well with people from all walks of life, you must also be strong enough physically to cope with the demands of the role and be flexible enough to work long and unsociable hours. Nurses play a key role as a member of a multi-disciplinary team and, as such, you will need to be able to work well with others and to follow instructions to the letter. However, the need to respond to emergency situations means that you must also be able to take the initiative and make autonomous decisions when required.


The daily responsibilities of a nurse vary dramatically depending upon which environment they are working in. For example, a midwife is not only involved during the delivery of a baby but is also responsible for visiting the mother on a regular basis in the run-up to the birth. A nurse in a hospital can be involved in monitoring the condition of patients in wards, preparing patients for surgery, administering medication and providing post-operative care. The further you progress up the grading system, the more responsibilities you will acquire and you can even become involved in the training of junior nurses and students. However, whatever setting you are employed in, arguably one of the most important roles of a nurse is to deal compassionately and professionally with patients and their relatives demonstrating the ability to respond to their concerns and provide them with support during possibly traumatic times. People express their feelings in different ways and, as a nurse, you may be on the receiving end of a patient’s anger, frustration, panic or guilt. You may be required to help explain the complexities of their condition and to inform them of the processes and procedures involved in their treatment and recovery.


Although nursing can be an emotionally rewarding career, it is not necessarily a financially rewarding one, although nurses working in London are offered financial incentives and the Key Worker Housing Initiative helps nurses in the lower pay brackets to buy their first property. The grading system for nurses runs from A Grade to I Grade and is based on number of years in the profession, qualifications undertaken and experience at management level. A Grade nurses are generally unqualified and are commonly known as Health Care Assistants or Auxiliaries. I Grade nurses are much more involved in management, strategy development and executive decision-making.

Despite the relatively low pay and the demanding nature of a role in nursing, the benefits can be argued to significantly outweigh the disadvantages. A career in nursing is one that you can have for life and the NHS, the largest nursing recruiter in the UK, now offers numerous incentives to encourage people to remain in nursing including flexible working hours and the opportunity to take a break from nursing and return when the time is right for you. The option to work in so many specialist areas also means that you can change direction within your career whenever you feel the need.

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