There are many people out there who are nurses and others that would like to be a nurse. With strikes about pay in the past and working unsociable hours you may wonder whether the job will be paid well enough to be worthwhile.
To be a nurse it is necessary to have a degree. This means that you will need two A-levels and usually five good GCSEs to start with. You will also need to complete a health questionnaire, have a police record check and show that you are literate and numerate. The courses are normally three years but previous learning is taken into consideration. You will need to choose which course you want to take, whether you want to work with adults, children, in mental health or with learning disabilities. Half of training takes place in clinical practice working with patients and families and half is theoretical. Graduates will also have to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and have clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service. It will be necessary for anyone wishing to be a nurse to have great practical skills, good time management skills and organisational ability, to easily have people trust them. Remain clam under pressure, work alone and with a team and have good communication and listening skills.
Jobs tend to be associated with hospital wards but nurses also work in accident and emergency, outpatients, in surgery as well as with children. They will normally take temperature, blood pressure and heart rate as well as injections and drugs. They will clean wounds and dress them and set up drips and transfusions. They will need to keep a check on patients and work together with doctors to decide what care to give as well as helping doctors with physical examinations. They will also work together with the patients and their relatives.
A nurse that is freshly qualified will earn around £22,000 if they work for the NHS. However, if they work in London they will get a higher amount of pay, as well as if they work in outer London or on the fringe.
There will also be an opportunity to earn more money with work experience. With years of experience and extra training it is possible to move up the pay scale bands. If a nurse becomes a consultant or manager they can earn more than £50,000 a year. There are eleven pay bands starting at £13,653-£16,753 all the way up to £77,079-£97,478. However the average pay for a nurse will normally not go above £50,000.
In private health there will also be opportunities for nurses and they may even earn more money than through the NHS.
The job is difficult as it can be physically as well as mentally demanding. It will usually include weekends, nights, bank holidays, evenings as well as daytime. Working hours will tend to be 37.5 a week, but they may be in long shifts with days off in between. Despite there being a good pension scheme, many nurses feel that they deserve a higher pay than they are getting.