what is a general nurse?

As a general practice nurse, you are part of the multidisciplinary team (MDT). You usually work in GP surgeries and hospitals with doctors, dietitians and pharmacists. You provide primary care and handle every aspect of patient treatment, from treating small injuries to assisting in minor operations.

Your job involves assessing, screening and administering drugs to people of all ages. You also provide basic nursing care like immunisation, vaccination, wound care and collecting samples from patients. Sometimes, your job involves dealing with long-term conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

Your key role as a general nurse also involves offering health care advice on weight loss, smoking cessation and contraception. You run rehabilitation programmes to promote people's health.

Working as a general nurse involves a wide range of duties, which provides a challenging and rewarding work environment. That means you need to be adaptable and flexible to handle different cases. As a general nurse, you also require people skills, as you work closely with patients and their families. Your role allows you to develop long-term relationships with individuals to manage their conditions and help them improve their wellbeing.

You are trained to provide care to all types of patients, and you can work in any healthcare facility. As a general nurse, you work in hospitals, GP practices, primary care clinics, nursing homes and hospices. You also work in government agencies, college campuses and the military. Companies with in-house clinics also rely on general nurses to treat employees.

Would working in health as a general nurse suit your flexibility and interest in helping people? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a general nurse role.

general nurse jobs

average salary of a general nurse

According to National Careers, the median salary of a general nurse starting out is £24,907 per year. When you are experienced, you can earn over £44,503 annually. Your salary usually comes with great benefits like life insurance, uniform allowance and medical insurance. You also receive other benefits, like paid vacations and extra pay for working overtime.

The salary of a general nurse usually varies depending on the healthcare facility and employer. When you work for the National Health Service (NHS), your salary and benefits depend on the rates set by the Agenda for Pay in Bands. For instance, an NHS general nurse's salary starts at Band 5. Your earnings will range from £26,104 to £32,915 per year as a trainee general nurse working under a senior practice nurse. When you gain experience, you move to Band 6, where your salary begins at £33,072 annually, while general nurses with additional years of experience earn around £40,736 per year.

what factors affect the salary of a general nurse?

As a general nurse, your experience and education level dictates your compensation package. When you have many years of experience, you are likely to earn more than someone with a few years in the field. The healthcare facility you work for also determines your earnings. Sometimes, working in the private sector provides higher salary prospects than government agencies.

medical staff preparing a patient for surgery
medical staff preparing a patient for surgery

types of general nurses

Classification of general nurses depends on the area of specialisation and specific duties. Some of the types of general nurses include:

  • nurse practitioner: as a general nurse practitioner, your job involves general patient care, diagnosing and treating minor conditions and injuries. You can also prescribe medicine to patients.
  • registered general nurse: as a registered nurse, you assist physicians and doctors with hands-on patient care. Your role also involves maintaining patient records and explaining the treatment to patients.


working as a general nurse

Becoming a general nurse is a rewarding career that involves helping people. It's a hands-on job that requires confidence and passion for serving others. Let's explore specific duties and the work environment of a general nurse.


education and skills

You can become a general nurse in the following ways:

  • university degree: as a general nurse, you need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. That means you should complete a degree in nursing or related health studies before seeking certification and registration with the council. If you have a background in a different health career and want to join general practice nursing, you can do a specialist practitioner conversion course.
  • work experience: to get employment as a general nurse, you need to be a registered child, adult or mental health nurse. You can land a job when you have experience in chronic disease management, childhood immunisation and taking blood samples. Some employers also require expertise in community nursing roles.

skills and competencies

As a general nurse, you need the following skills and competencies:

  • caring: you need to be caring to provide the best care for patients. Being caring helps you administer treatment on time to alleviate pain and advise patients on the best ways to boost recovery.
  • attention to detail: as a general nurse, you juggle many tasks, from receiving instructions from physicians to conducting examinations. You need to be detail-oriented to avoid mixing up treatment plans or administering the wrong medicine to patients.
  • problem-solving skills: you need natural problem-solving skills to succeed in the role since you handle various patients, and sometimes the diagnosis from tests isn't clear. Exceptional problem-solving skills help you avoid adverse patient outcomes.
  • stamina: the physical demands of being a general nurse can take a toll on you. Your role involves lifting and adjusting patients, walking around the hospital or administering treatment. Being physically fit makes your work easier.
smiling female
smiling female


FAQs about working as a general nurse

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