How much do nurses get paid?

Nursing can be an extremely rewarding career with fantastic progression and earning prospects.

student nurse in hospital

Nursing salaries operate on a sliding scale, so the more years you put in, the higher your salary will be. You can also increase your pay by progressing in your career and applying for more senior roles that attract a higher salary. This is great news if you’re looking for a safe and secure career path that gives you a stable income in the future.

Nursing Salaries

Nursing salaries in the NHS are calculated according to a band system that runs from 1 to 9. Students who have completed nursing degrees and are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council enter the nursing profession on Band 5, where annual salaries start from around £22,128. With each year of service, pay increases until it reaches the top figure in that band, so the £22,128 starting salary will increase to £22,683 after 12 months and then to £23,597 after 24 months. The maximum annual salary of £28,746 for Band 5 will be reached after seven years.

Nursing Specialism Salaries

The salary you start on as a nurse will depend on which pathway you have chosen to specialise in. Various options that you can study at MSc include Adult Nursing, Child Nursing, Mental Health Nursing or Learning Disability Nursing.

The starting salary for an Adult Nurse is £22,128. They can expect to work between 37 and 42 hours per week. Adult Nurses work with adults of all ages who are experiencing a short or long-term health condition caused by an accident or illness.

The starting salary for a Children's Nurse is £22,128. They’ll usually work between 35 and 40 hours per week. Child Nurses work closely with children and their families, with a special understanding of the health needs of under 18s.

The starting salary for a Mental Health Nurse is £23,023. They can expect to work between 37 and 38 hours per week. Mental health nurses work with people experiencing conditions such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders, to help them manage their lives more effectively.

The starting salary for a Learning Disability Nurse is £22,128. They will typically work between 38 and 40 hours a week. Learning Disability Nurses supply specialised healthcare to people with learning disabilities to enhance their lives and those of their families and carers.

Career Progression

As nurses acquire experience, they may choose to progress in their profession and therefore increase their salary. Many nursing careers take a defined career progression path, with clearly set-out stages that are reached through experience, extra training and increased knowledge. The next step in the career ladder for an entry-level nurse would be a team leader or a senior staff nurse, depending on which NHS Trust you are working in. These are Band 6 positions and would attract a salary of at least £25,565.

Most experienced nurses tend to work in Band 6 or 7, filling positions such as advanced nurse practitioner (Band 7) where salaries are between £26,565 and £41,787.

Some nurses may wish to advance even further in their careers, applying for more senior positions such as modern matron (Band 8a). Nurse consultants, who sit in Band 8c, can expect to earn up to £69,168.

Additional Payments

In some nursing roles, extra payments may be available for nurses working antisocial hours, including shift work. Overtime may also be available, for which you will be paid 1.5 times your standard hourly rate for every hour worked (two times your hourly rate on bank holidays). If you’re offered on-call work, you’ll receive payments for this too.

Nursing Salaries In The North And South Of The UK

In London, nursing salaries attract a high-cost area supplement. This amounts to 20% of the basic salary for inner London, 15% of the basic salary for outer London and 5% of the basic salary for the fringe zone, which includes the counties surrounding London such as Hertfordshire and Essex. For example, a Mental Health Nurse in their first job in Hull will earn £23,023, while an individual starting in the same role in central London will take home an extra £4,604 per year for a basic salary of £27,627.