Nurse (Adult Care)

Job Description:

Nurses give care, advice and support to adults who are sick, injured or have physical disabilities.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • taking temperatures, blood pressures and pulse rates
  • helping doctors with physical examinations
  • giving drugs and injections
  • cleaning and dressing wounds
  • setting up drips and blood transfusions
  • using medical equipment
  • checking patients’ progress
  • working with doctors to decide what care to give
  • advising patients and their relatives
  • handling confidential information


You’ll need:

  • a degree in nursing
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • a caring approach to looking after patients
  • excellent listening, communication and teamwork skills
  • excellent organisational and time management skills
  • observation/attention to detail
  • resilience/ability to stay positive when dealing with upsetting situations (the ability to remain calm under pressure)
  • the ability to inspire confidence and trust in people
  • working under pressure
  • good practical skills and the ability to work on your own initiative

Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to pass enhanced background checks

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a nurse in the UK, you should aim to take GCSE subjects that will provide a strong foundation for your nursing education and future career. Here are the typical GCSE subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring nurses:

  1. English Language: Strong communication skills are essential in nursing. Good reading and writing abilities will help you effectively communicate with patients and document their medical information.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for tasks like medication calculations and monitoring patient vital signs.
  3. Science: GCSE-level science subjects like Biology and Chemistry can be particularly helpful in understanding the human body, diseases, and pharmacology, which are fundamental in nursing.
  4. Physical Education (PE): Physical fitness and a basic understanding of the body’s physical functioning can be beneficial in nursing.
  5. Health and Social Care: Some schools offer GCSE-level courses in health and social care, which can provide insight into the healthcare industry and its practices.
  6. Psychology: While not always available at the GCSE level, a basic understanding of psychology can be useful in nursing, especially in dealing with patients’ mental and emotional well-being.

It’s important to note that the specific GCSE requirements may vary between nursing programs and institutions. Therefore, you should research the entry requirements of the nursing schools or universities you’re interested in. Additionally, you’ll typically need to meet the General Entry Requirements, which may include a minimum number of GCSEs at certain grades.

Post School

You can get into this job through :

  • a university course
  • armed forces
  • an apprenticeship

You can do a degree in adult nursing approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. You might be able to study another area of nursing alongside adult nursing.

You might be able to join the second year of a nursing degree if you already have a degree in:

  • a health-related subject
  • psychology
  • life sciences
  • social work

Full-time courses usually take 3 years.

Armed forces
You can also train to be a nurse in the armed forces. You can find more information at:

  • Army
  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Navy

You might be able to do a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting like a hospital.

The degree apprenticeship takes around 4 years and is a mix of academic study and on-the-job training.

You’ll need the support of your employer to do a degree apprenticeship.

You’ll find it helpful to get some experience before you apply for nurse training.

You could:

  • get work experience in health or social care
  • find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT

you’ll need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a health centre, at a hospice, at an adult care home, at a client’s home or in a prison.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

You’ll normally work in a team with other healthcare professionals. All nursing careers can be physically demanding, and you may have to work evenings, weekends, night shifts, and bank holidays. You may also be expected to be on call outside your working hours. This means you can be called into the hospital at any time if you are needed.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could:

  • become a nursing sister, ward manager, team leader, or move into a management role like matron or director of nursing
  • specialise in an area like intensive care, neonatal nursing or operating theatre work
  • train to become a midwife, health visitor, district nurse or practice nurse
  • become an advanced nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or nurse consultant if you have a postgraduate qualification
  • move into teaching, research or become self-employed and work overseas