Want to become a nursery nurse? We're here to help with all the advice and guidance you need. Below we look at:

  • the skills you need 
  • the qualifications needed
  • how to find a nursery nurse job

What does a nursery nurse do?

Nursery nurses provide care for children up to seven years old, by assisting with many aspects of their daily lives, through social, emotional, educational and practical interaction, nurturing and guidance. This is done from a variety of settings, but most often in preschools and nurseries.

To work as a nursery nurse specific qualifications which are outlined below are needed. However, jobs as nursery assistants do not always require them. If you are interested in nursery nurse jobs, read on to find out more about the required skills, the different types of locations available and how to find a position.

Nursery nurse qualifications.

To work as a Nursery Nurse you need to have a qualification such as BTEC or NNEB. Working with very young children and babies requires patience and the ability to help children learn through play. Excellent communication skills are vital and nursery nurses who develop good listening capabilities will find this enhances their knowledge of child behaviour and childcare. Successfully engaging with young children requires plenty of imagination and creativity as well as a caring nature and the ability to display empathy.

Carers need to be observant, practical and well organised and capable of remaining calm and efficient in the event of an emergency or stressful situation. Nursery nurses work as part of a team and are often responsible for looking after children from diverse cultural backgrounds. Sensitivity towards these children is important as is the ability to be flexible in approaching the tasks involved.

Transferable skills.

Newcomers to the profession may be concerned that without many years of nursery nurse experience, they are at a disadvantage; however, emphasising transferable skills from previous work experience is a good way to overcome this. Candidates who have had teaching jobs will already have the kind of communication and listening skills required, even if they have been teaching older children.

Experience with children in any setting is an advantage such as babysitting or helping out with young children at home. Administrative experience in an office, even at junior level, provides good organisational training, which when combined with qualifications can add to a nursery nurse application.

How to find nursery nurse jobs.

As with any employment sector, jobs are advertised using a variety of different media. When an organisation has vacancies these are often displayed on its own website. Additionally, there may be ads placed in the classified section of local newspapers, also increasingly viewable online. However for those who don’t know the company or don’t live in the area these jobs are likely to go unnoticed. This is where a specialist recruitment agency proves so useful, as it works with employers from a wide geographical area and features a wide range of early years jobs, providing more choice for job seekers.

Schools and positions.

Nursery nurse jobs are available in independent nurseries, crèches, pre-school nurseries, health care centres and hospitals as well as in private homes. There are a variety of roles depending on the setting. Some nursery nurses work in children’s wards or neonatal units alongside a registered nurse. Others in community settings have nursery assistants who share the childcare. Some independent nurseries employ a teaching nursery nurse to work with older children, aged three to four years. While qualifications required vary widely, all people who work with children need enhanced background checks, which are provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – formerly the Criminal Records Bureau.