A children’s nurse assists both the family and the child while they are suffering from a range of illnesses and conditions.
As an apprentice children’s nurse, you’ll play a critical role in identifying the child’s nursing needs, considering their medical, social, cultural, and familial circumstances.
When engaging with young children, you must understand their behaviour and feelings to assess them since they cannot completely verbalise how they are feeling.
You will deliver therapy in a variety of settings, including hospitals, homes, and the community, as part of a team of doctors, healthcare assistants, play staff, psychologists, and social workers.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- work with doctors to assess what a child needs if they are ill, injured or have a disability
- decide what level of nursing care is required
- give injections and medication, treat wounds and use medical equipment
- observe and interpret a child’s behaviour to monitor how well their treatment is working
- support parents and carers who have a child in hospital
- advise parents and carers on how to give ongoing care at home.
- Salaries for newly qualified apprentices start at £25,655 (Band 5).
- The majority of experienced nurses work in Band 6 or 7, with salaries ranging from £32,306 to £45,839.
- One of the highest-paid positions in nursing is as a nurse consultant where salaries start on Band 8a, which ranges from £47,126 to £53,219.
Your usual working hours at the NHS will be 35 to 40 hours per week. Typically, there is the possibility of working some overtime. In hospitals, shift work is standard, and working patterns sometimes require unsocial hours; however, depending on your role, you may be able to work more regular hours.
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a hospice, at a children’s care home, at a GP practice or at a health centre.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice children’s nurse include:
- Level 6 Nurse – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 48 months to complete.
On a children’s nurse apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- knowledge of medicine
- knowledge of psychology
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- leadership skills
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- customer service skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.
Many children’s nurses work in NHS hospitals. Other settings where you could find work include:
- general practices (GPs), as specialists in child health
- day care centres, child health clinics and school health education units
- travel companies/holiday resorts
- nursing agencies
- private healthcare organisations
- patients’ homes
- charities and voluntary organisations.
To work as a nurse in the United Kingdom, you must be registered with the NMC. This registration must be renewed every three years, and you must show that you met the revalidation standards during that time.
Participatory CPD learning must include interaction with at least one other professional (either in person or virtually) and may include attending conferences, seminars, or similar training courses and activities. More information is available at NMC Revalidation.
Courses of varying lengths are available in a range of specialised disciplines. Some in-service training programmes last up to a year. See the Royal College of Nursing’s Professional Development page for further information.
With experience, you can move to roles such as senior staff nurse (or charge nurse), ward sister, and senior ward manager. Ward administration might lead to clinical unit management and, eventually, senior roles within a trust. As you become more senior, you can expect fewer hands-on nursing tasks.
You may also learn to be a nurse consultant, which would require you to deal directly with patients at least half the time. Most of my time would be spent on personal practice development, research, and contributing to other nurses’ education, training, and development.
As with other fields of nursing, there are opportunities for advancement via teaching, research, or community-based positions such as school nurse or health visitor.
You might go on to work in private healthcare, social services, volunteer organisations, charities, or overseas healthcare.