Apprentice nurses care for patients with various medical conditions, from minor wounds and ailments to severe and chronic illnesses and disorders. By creating care plans, carrying out care duties and assessments, and assessing and focusing on the patient’s needs rather than their illness or condition, they help patients recover.
Apprentice nurses often provide the most consistent care even though they frequently act as patients’ primary point of contact and are a part of multidisciplinary teams. In addition, they communicate with the patient’s family members, particularly if the patient has a chronic illness and may require repeated doctor visits.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- take temperatures, blood pressures and pulse rates
- give drugs and injections, treat wounds and set up drips
- monitor the progress of patients and update records
- handover information to colleagues at the end of a shift
- work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to decide what care to give
- give advice to patients and their relatives.
- Fully qualified nurses start on salaries of £24,907 rising to £30,615 on Band 5 of the NHS Agenda for Change pay rates.
- With experience, in positions such as senior nurse on Band 6, salaries progress to £31,365 to £37,890.
- Lead nurse, modern matron and nurse consultant (Bands 7 to 8c), salaries range from £38,890 to £73,664.
Shift work is widespread in hospitals and frequently requires unsociable hours. Typically, adult nurses work 37 to 42 hours a week, working evenings, weekends and bank holidays on shifts.
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.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice nurse include:
- Level 6 Nurse Apprenticeship – 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 degree apprenticeship.
The degree apprenticeship takes around 4 years and is a mix of academic study and on-the-job training.
On a nursing apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to work well with others
- a desire to help people
- knowledge of psychology
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.
Adult nurses can work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, general practitioners’ offices, and community settings, including residential homes, hospices, specialised units, and educational institutions. Another choice is to visit patients in their homes.
Once you have enough experience, you may work as a nurse trainer or provide health education instead of engaging in hands-on clinical practice.
As a newly registered nurse, you will often start your first job with a preceptorship. This transitional period will help you develop your practice and confidence. It provides fundamental patient care skills along with a broad spectrum of leadership, management, teaching, and communication skills.
You must revalidate every three years to keep your registration with the NMC current.
Finishing 450 hours of registered practice and 35 hours of continuing professional development over three years are necessary prerequisites (CPD).
In fields like advanced practice, several universities offer structured part-time study programmes that could lead to an MSc (post-registration) or even a PhD. Find postgraduate nursing programmes.
There are various ways to advance in one’s career. You will be able to work in multiple settings and progress in your career after finishing your preceptorship.
You’ll start by gaining experience in a more generalist profession, but you may later seek more training to specialise in an area of interest. Adult nursing is divided into various specialisations, the most prevalent of which are:
All nurses share management responsibilities, although specific career paths are more management-focused than others. For example, as you become older, you may have fewer hands-on nursing responsibilities.
Your managerial skills and level of specialised knowledge will influence your advancement to professions such as ward sister, ward manager, and team leader. You may then move clinically to roles such as nurse consultant or administratively as a matron, and finally up the executive ladder to become a director of nursing.