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Work in health care
Every minute of every day, nursing and midwifery staff make a huge difference to millions of lives. This is a profession where joy and sadness come in equal measure, where inspiration is met by frustration, and where courage must outweigh fear. Health care is changing rapidly, and a career in it offers you to be at the forefront of that change.
A rewarding career
One of the most rewarding and challenging jobs, a career in nursing has plenty to offer. Nurses, midwives and health care support workers form the largest group of staff across all of health care, and the RCN supports all of them as a crucial part the team. Nursing opens many doors and allows you to work anywhere in the world.
What roles you can do
There is a range of roles in nursing to consider when planning your career:
- registered nurses act as a leader, carer and clinician. They don't just work in hospitals. They work in a range of health care settings, and can follow career pathways in clinical, research, education and management roles
- midwives are a key health professionals who support, guide and care for mother, baby and family through the months of pregnancy, during the birth itself, and afterwards
- assistant practitioners are senior support workers and are also sometimes known as associate practitioners
- health care assistants deliver the majority of hands-on nursing care and can be found in every sort of setting from A&E to patients' homes, caring for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Choosing a specialism
If you want to become a registered nurse, you’ll need to choose which of the four nursing specialisms you’d like to study during your degree. This doesn’t mean your career is decided – there are ways to change after qualifying. Health care support workers like health care assistants and assistant practitioners can work across all specialisms and are trained by their employer depending on the skills they need for the role.
Finding a job
Nursing professionals can work in a whole range of settings, from hospitals and GP surgeries, to care homes, hospices or prisons. We’ve listed some of the most useful places to start your search for nursing jobs. You might also want to think about getting work experience to find out what it’s like first-hand, as this can help you secure a job.
Need more help?
Call our dedicated careers advice service for more help with planning your career.