One of the great things about nursing is the huge variety of roles you can get into once you're qualified. You might prefer to work in the local community within a doctor’s surgery or you might decide A&E is for you. Here are just a few of the options:

Adult nursing.

You will look after adults from 18 to 65. This could be on a general ward in a hospital or it could be in a doctor’s surgery administering injections, performing minor procedures and drawing blood.

As the main point of contact for patients, you will often find yourself liaising with the patient’s families particularly in the case of chronic illness. Your responsibilities as an adult nurse may also include:

  • building trust with patients
  • assisting with or writing patient care plans
  • monitoring and recording the condition of patients
  • assisting with evaluations
  • undertaking regular investigations
  • responding promptly to emergencies
  • educating patients you work with as well as potentially running educational sessions for the public
  • organising the team’s workload and mentoring junior nurses
  • checking and administering drugs and injections

The working hours of an adult nurse may include regular unsocial hours due to shift work however many employers do offer a 9-5 shift.

Children’s nursing (also known as paediatric nursing).

With paediatric nursing, you could be working with young people including babies. You could work on a children’s ward within a hospital or choose a premature baby unit.

As a paediatric nurse, a key focus for you will be assessing the nursing needs of the child and being able to communicate effectively with all parties involved, including the children themselves. The responsibilities of a children’s nurse may include:

  • observing and reporting on the condition of patients
  • administering drugs and injections
  • responding promptly to emergencies
  • supporting and educating patients and their families
  • updating relevant records
  • assisting with tests

In the NHS, the standard hours for a children’s nurse is 37.5 hours a week with the option to work overtime. Shift work is also common in this field and other arrangements such as part-time and job-sharing are becoming more popular.

Learning disability nursing.

You will help people of all ages to live as full and independent lives as possible. Much of the work is community-based or in supported-living settings.

The role of a learning disability nurse is often to help empower individuals to be able to look after themselves. With work mainly existing in the community or supported living-settings, your responsibilities may include:

  • engaging and supporting vulnerable individuals
  • observing and understanding behaviour and evidence-based outcomes
  • planning care packages, activities and social events with service users
  • assisting with tests and evaluations
  • being aware of opportunities available within the local community for the service user
  • coordinating plans with other health and social care colleagues and liaising with other staff to plan patient’s activities e.g. admission and discharge
  • maintaining accurate records and completing paperwork where necessary

The typical working hours of a full-time learning disability nurse is 37.5 hours a week but may include unsocial hours if your work is based in supported living units. 

Mental health nursing.

You will work with people with various mental health issues. In this role, you will help people manage their conditions and live as independently as possible or you will help them recover from illness.

As a registered mental health nurse (RMN), you may choose to specialise in working with a certain age group or within a specific area. Responsibilities of a mental health nurse may include:

  • maintaining accurate patient records and assisting with risk assessments
  • building trust and confidence with patients
  • administering medication
  • responding in an appropriate manner to distressed patients and communicating effectively to support them
  • applying de-escalation techniques
  • undertaking group or one-to-one therapy sessions
  • undertaking evidence-based individual therapy
  • attending regular meetings to review care plans

With 24-hour care required in some cases, shift work is pretty common in this field. However, nurses working in the community may be more likely to have regular hours but may be called out on days off if an emergency arises.

Community nursing.

Working as a community nurse, district nurse or community psychiatric nurse is an excellent way to combine a love of nursing and a love of your community. It is the job of a community nurse to help keep community health problems under control.

They are often based at community health centres or within mental health teams offering treatment and advice to members of the public. They will also try to educate the community on and work towards preventing common health problems be it an acute illness or mental health illness.

Responsibilities include:

  • providing healthcare to patients in their own home, in care homes or in health centres as well as in hospital
  • taking care of individuals who have recently been discharged from hospital
  • assessing and managing the care of individuals who are unable to go to the hospital or their local GP
  • educating patients and their families on basic healthcare and care-giving
  • administering medicine and giving injections
  • dressing wounds and setting up drips
  • help patients transition from a hospital setting back into the community

If you are looking to get into the nursing field, click here for a brief overview on how to get into the field. If you would like to find out more about your options within the nursing field, get in touch with your local team of health and social care recruitment specialists today. 



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