What is nursing?

Nursing is a rewarding career that improves the lives of others and makes a real difference in the community.

nurse with a child patient in a hospital room

Nursing is a career in the healthcare sector which involves caring for people when they are in need and helping them recover a good quality of life. It's a rewarding profession that allows you to improve the experiences of others, and make a real difference in the community.

When training as a nurse, you’ll learn to develop your personality traits into successful tools that enable you to thrive in your future workplace. If you’re calm, warm, emotionally stable, extroverted and open to new experiences, a career in nursing could be for you.

What Do Nurses Do?

Nursing responsibilities are wide-reaching and involve a spectrum of tasks ranging from the purely practical to the unmistakably emotional. Everyday tasks may include making notes about a patient’s condition, administering medication and taking blood pressure. Communication skills will be key in helping you liaise between patient and doctor, and sometimes you’ll be called upon to perform highly delicate tasks such as informing patients and relatives of illness or death. It might be something as simple as holding a child’s hand in support or reassuring a distressed patient with compassionate words. The common thread in all of these nursing responsibilities is that, as a nurse, you’re making a difference to people’s lives and helping them feel better through mental or physical illness.

Studying To Become A Nurse

To become a nurse, you’ll need to carry out an undergraduate nursing degree programme that’s been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Nursing degrees involve three years of full-time study and are made up of a combination of theoretical study and placements in the workplace. Clinical placements take up 50% of nursing degrees and may take place in a hospital or community setting.

You will need to choose to specialise in either Adult Nursing, Children's Nursing, Mental Health Nursing or Learning Disabilities Nursing as each course has its own unique set of training and skills development.

It’s likely that you will find many aspects of the course challenging, both on a personal and a professional level. The aim is that this process will prepare students for successful nursing careers that will last a lifetime. To help you, many of academic tutors are nurses themselves, meaning they can share real experiences and give you a practical insight into nursing careers.

Once you have graduated, you’ll have an MSc (Master of Science) in Nursing and will be eligible to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council register to start working straight away.

Careers In Nursing

Nursing careers are hugely fulfilling, and you'll draw on a huge skill set in order to improve the quality of life for the patients you deal with.

  • Adult Nurses care for people with at least one long or short-term physical health condition. These could be anything from injuries caused in an accident to illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. Adult Nurses work with patients who are 18 years or older. Work may be carried out in a hospital setting, a GP surgery, a nursing home or in a patient’s home. Adult nurses may also work in the prison service or with the police, and in the voluntary or private sector.
  • Child Nurses work with the full range of child ages, from newborn babies right up to teenagers. Because children have different health needs from adults, specialised understanding and communication skills are needed. Child nurses also work closely with the families of children affected by illness, accidents and health issues. They may carry out their work in hospitals, in a community setting or in the child’s home.
  • Mental Health Nurses support the recovery of people with mental health conditions including depression, eating disorders, insomnia and ADHD. These may have been triggered by events such as death, substance abuse or changes in personal circumstances. Mental health nurses draw on personal qualities such as compassion to help people who are struggling have more control over their experiences. This may involve supporting them through social events, therapy or devising strategies to help them take their medication.
  • Learning Disability Nurses help improve the well-being of people with learning disabilities by supporting them in their physical and mental health. The aim is to increase their quality of life, help them become independent and contribute to their social inclusion. Learning Disability Nurses also provide support for the families and staff teams of those with learning disabilities, to help them live more fulfilling lives.

Speak with one of our nursing students