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Job Photographs

  • A woman, wearing a white nurse's uniform, is standing in a nursery.  She is holding a small child.

    Talking to and playing with the children.

  • Two women are talking in a hospital ward.

    Discussing a patient with the doctor.

  • A man and a boy are sitting down.  A woman, wearing a white nurse's uniform, is taking the boy's temperature by placing a thermometer in his ear.

    Taking the patient's temperature.

  • A man and a boy are sitting on a sofa.  The boy is wearing pyjamas.  A woman, wearing a white nurse's uniform, is sitting in front of them.  She is writing on a piece of paper.

    Explaining treatment to the child and his parents.

  • A man and a woman are each holding a child. Another woman is talking to them.

    Returning a child to his parents after his operation.

  • A boy is sitting in a chair.  A woman, wearing a white nurse's uniform, is standing in front of him.  She is measuring his blood pressure.

    Checking the child's blood pressure.

  • A woman, wearing a white nurse's uniform, is weighing a small child.

    Sometimes, the children become distressed and the nurse has to comfort them.

  • Nurse - Children

Nurse - Children

Introduction

As a Children's Nurse, you will provide medical care for babies, children, and teenagers. You'll apply your specialist knowledge to meet the particular needs of this age group. Your role can include working with patients who have a short- or long-term illness or injury, or who are disabled. You will also work closely with the children's families and carers.

Also known as

  • Children's Nurse
  • Registered Sick Children's Nurse (RSCN)
  • Sick Children's Nurse
  • Nurse - Paediatric

Video: - Caroline: Children's Nurse

Work Activities

Children's Nurses plan and put into practice the complete nursing care of their patients.

Caring for children is different from adult nursing in a number of ways. For example, because children are still growing, you will have to take into account the impact of their illness or injury on their development. Also, a child might be less able to explain what their symptoms are, so you must be able to pick up more on non-verbal signals.

Children's nursing can be very varied, ranging from the intensive care of a newborn baby to looking after a 16-year-old with a broken leg, for example.

You will deal not only with the child's physical condition but also reduce the anxiety and confusion they might feel when ill and faced with unusual surroundings.

You could work in lots of different places, including children's wards in general hospitals, specialist hospitals, day care centres and child health clinics. You might also visit children to treat them in their own homes.

Wherever you work, Children's Nurses are part of a multi-disciplinary team, which might include other nurses, healthcare assistants, doctors, physiotherapists and many others. You might also have contact with Social Workers and Psychologists.

As a Children's Nurse, you will assesses the requirements of the child and family. Then, with the other medical staff, you will draw up a care plan, which outlines the child's needs and treatment schedule.

Having worked with the team to create a care plan, you'll use your clinical and observational skills, and the close, trusting relationship they have developed with the child, to assess how well the plan is working.

Nursing tasks include:

  • checking temperatures
  • helping a doctor to examine patients
  • giving drugs and injections
  • dressing wounds and changing bandages.

Many areas of nursing rely on complex equipment. For example, a Children's Nurse might be monitoring life-support equipment in an intensive care ward.

An important part of your role will be involving the child's family in their care and keeping them informed of what is happening to their child. You'll also work closely with carers. This could mean training the parents or carers to give treatment themselves, so they can continue the treatment when the child goes home.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

The NHS have produced a list of personal qualities called the '6 Cs'. These are six values that you need to become a great nurse.

Here are the NHS '6 Cs' and their decription:

  • care - Care is our core business and that of our organisations, and the care we deliver helps the individual person and improves the health of the whole community. Caring defines us and our work. People receiving care expect it to be right for them, consistently, throughout every stage of their life.
  • compassion - Compassion is how care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect and dignity - it can also be described as intelligent kindness, and is central to how people perceive their care.
  • competence - Competence means all those in caring roles must have the ability to understand an individual’s health and social needs and the expertise, clinical and technical knowledge to deliver effective care and treatments based on research and evidence.
  • communication - Communication is central to successful caring relationships and to effective team working. Listening is as important as what we say and do and essential for "no decision about me without me". Communication is the key to a good workplace with benefits for those in our care and staff alike.
  • courage - Courage enables us to do the right thing for the people we care for, to speak up when we have concerns and to have the personal strength and vision to innovate and to embrace new ways of working.
  • commitment - A commitment to our patients and populations is a cornerstone of what we do. We need to build on our commitment to improve the care and experience of our patients, to take action to make this vision and strategy a reality for all and meet the health, care and support challenges ahead

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • With experience: Band 5 pay of £23,023 - £29,608
  • NHS Salary Band 5 (Wales): £22,129 - £28,747

Salaries in the private sector are broadly similar to those of the NHS.

Hours of work

Nurses work a basic 37.5-hour week. Shift work is usual. Some employers offer flexitime working, and overtime is common.

Where could I work?

Employers include the NHS (in hospitals and in the community) and private healthcare companies. There are also opportunities to work in other countries (some countries require extra qualifications).

Opportunities for children's nurses occur in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, in local/national newspapers, at Jobcentre Plus, on the Universal Jobmatch website, and on job boards.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes and training

To qualify as a Nurse, you must usually complete a pre-registration degree course in nursing. The course must be approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Health Careers have a useful course finder:

www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/i-am/looking-course

Nursing degrees usually take three years to complete (four in Scotland). There are a small number of part-time degree courses for people employed as assistant practitioners in the NHS.

In Wales, nursing degree courses take from two-four years to complete depending on which course you are studying. In Wales, there are undergraduate part time, fulltime and postgraduate entry routes into nursing available. The part time routes are usually undertaken by healthcare support workers who are already employed within one on the Health Boards or Trusts within Wales.

You might be able to use previous learning or practical experience to complete your degree in a shorter time. This is through accreditation of prior (experiential) learning or APEL. Some universities reduce the pre-registration time by as much as one year. Examples of previous learning might include a relevant degree subject or practical experience of nursing, care or a related area.

The government has announced two new entry routes into nursing:

  • Nursing Degree Apprenticeship - You are now able to become an apprentice Nurse. Exactly where you start the degree apprenticeship will depend upon your current qualifications and experience, although the course will not require GCSE English or Maths. You will learn all the skills you require to become a Nurse on-the-job, whilst taking time to complete your degree at university.
  • Nursing Associate - You can now begin working as a Nursing Associate. This role will consist of on-the-job training, and will provide a route from health and care support roles into fully qualified nursing. You will work under the direction of a qualified Nurse and work towards a Level 5 qualification. You can then top this up to a degree in order to become a qualified Nurse.

Important Note: The Nursing Degree Apprenticeship and Nursing Associate are not available in Wales. In Wales the entry route into nursing is through a degree course in nursing.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

The Degree Course

On your degree course, you'd spend the first year completing the Common Foundation Programme (CFP). This covers a general introduction to nursing and develops your observational, communication and caring skills.

From the second year of the course onwards, you would specialise in childrens nursing.

Some courses have a general title, such as 'nursing', while others tell you which branch you will follow in the title, such as 'nursing (adult)'. Some universities and colleges of higher education don't offer all four branches after the CFP, so please check college/university websites carefully. There are also a small number of courses that combine nursing with a social work qualification.

In Wales you will studying fundamental nursing practice within your field of nursing, as well as develop clinical, management and leadership skills. You will also have the opportunity to undertake placements across a wide range of healthcare settings. Full details of the course contents can be found on the websites of the universities that offer these programmes within Wales.

Progression

There are lots of possibilities for progression. You could move into a management or research position. Some nurses progress to trainer posts, teaching student nurses. You can also take further advanced or specialist training, for example, to become a district nurse, health visitor, school nurse or midwife.

Work Experience

Some employers enable experienced staff in relevant positions (such as Senior Healthcare Assistants or Assistant Practitioners) to take a pre-registration degree course part-time on full salary, as long as they meet the usual entry requirements.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.

This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.

Qualifications

In Wales the entry criteria for a pre-registration nursing degree courses can vary across universities. Typical entry requirements are:

  • A levels
  • Welsh BACC
  • Access to higher education
  • BTEC
  • 5 GCSEs including maths and English language
  • Degree in relevant subject for post graduate entry course

It is worth contacting the university if you do not hold any of the typical qualifications above to discuss further

For a degree in nursing, the usual entry requirement is:

  • 3 A levels where some universities ask for at least one science subject, psychology and sociology
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 and above. English and maths might be specified. Some universities specify biology or science, especially if you don't have biology at A level

Entry can also be possible with alternative level 3 qualifications such as:

  • NVQs
  • BTECs
  • City & Guilds
  • Cambridge Technicals
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for organisations to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Some employers enable experienced staff in relevant positions (such as senior healthcare assistants or assistant practitioners) to take a pre-registration degree course part-time on full salary, as long as they meet the usual entry requirements.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications that are usually needed to enter a nursing degree course, you might be able to start one after completing a college or university Access course, for example, Access to Nursing. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, but you should check individual course details.

It's possible to enter a nursing degree course after completing an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, for example, in Health and Social Care; Health - Clinical Healthcare Support; or Health - Allied Health Profession Support.

Other possible routes into a nursing degree can be an NVQ/Diploma level 3 in a relevant subject or modular course credits from the Open University.

You might be able to use previous learning or practical experience to complete your degree in a shorter time. This is through accreditation of prior (experiential) learning or APEL. Some universities reduce the pre-registration time by as much as one year. Examples of previous learning might include a relevant degree subject or practical experience of nursing, care or a related area.

There are a small number of pre-registration MSc or postgraduate diploma courses, usually for graduates in health or science-related degrees (some universities consider graduates with any subject).

If you've had a break from nursing and want to return to the NHS, you'll need to complete a Return to Practice (RTP) programme that is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The programmes refresh clinical skills and there are classroom sessions to discuss theory. Many RTP courses are part-time.

Funding in Wales

RTP course are funded in Wales, tuition fees are paid and a bursary of £1,000 will be available to each nursing student, with £1,500 available for midwives, undertaking an accredited return to practice course.

Funding the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme

The Welsh Government through the Welsh NHS fund the education and training for a range of health professional education courses. The full NHS Wales bursary scheme is available to UK residents and EU nationals that have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of the course, and who commit to working in Wales following completion of their programme. EU nationals not resident in the UK who commit to work in Wales following completion of their programme can access funding for the tuition fees only and will not be eligible to access the full NHS Wales Bursary Scheme.

The full NHS Wales Bursary scheme includes the following:

  • the cost of tuition fees
  • a bursary for living costs, including a £1,000 non means tested grant and a means tested bursary. In addition students are supported for costs such as travel, accommodation (whilst on placement), Childcare, Disabled Student Allowance, Dependents Allowance and Parental Learning Allowance.
  • If eligible, you will have access to a reduced student loan (subject to Student Loans Company Regulations)
  • Please note that individuals who already have a first degree and are undertaking a pre-registration programme e.g. Physicians Associate, MSc/PG Dip Nursing, PG Dip Dietetics and PG Dip Occupational Therapy programmes are not eligible to apply for a reduced student loan, however they will have access to all other elements of the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme.
Individuals who do not feel they can commit to work in Wales following completion of their programme will not be eligible to receive the benefits of the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme; however, they will still be able to study in Wales and will be able to access the following support:

  • Welsh domiciled students will have access to the standard student support package available from Student Finance Wales.
  • Non-Welsh domiciled students, will continue to be eligible to study in Wales but will need to secure funding from an alternative sources, this may include funding from the relevant funding body in their home country or self finance etc.
Once students have received an offer of a training place from an NHS Wales agreed provider they will need to decide whether they wish to commit to work in Wales prior to applying for either the NHS Wales Bursary or the standard student finance package.

More information about the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme can be accessed on the Student awards Services website: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/course-starts-on-or-after-1-september-20

Funding in England

The Government has recently announced changes to the way that health courses are to be funded from 2017 onwards. Important: This does not apply in Wales.

From 2017, students applying to study a health course will need to apply for a student loan - in the same way that students on non-health courses currently do.

Under the student loan system, students will be able to apply for non-repayable grants to help with the following:

  • Additional childcare
  • Adult dependants
  • Parent learning costs
  • Travel to placements
Students with a disability can also apply for additional grants to help pay the extra essential costs they may have whilst studying on a higher education course as a direct result of their disability, through the Disabled Students' Allowance.

Currently, student loans are generally paid back over a 30 year period and repayment is contingent on earnings. Graduates do not begin to pay back their loans until the April after they graduate, and then only if they are earning over £21,000 per year. If their income drops below £21,000 for any reason (part-time working, career break) their repayments cease.

The loan repayments are paid at a rate of 9% of any earnings over £21,000.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

NHS Wales Careers

Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare

Email: abm.wedsteam@wales.nhs.uk

Website: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/829/page/36090

NHS Jobs

Website: www.jobs.nhs.uk

Step into the NHS

NHS careers

Tel: 0345 6060655

Website: www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk

Skills for Health

Skills for the health sector

Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP

Tel: 0117 9221155

Email: office@skillsforhealth.org.uk

Website: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

Open University (OU)

Tel: 0845 3006090

Website: www.open.ac.uk

NHS Education for Scotland (NES)

Scottish enquiries

Address: Westport 102, West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DN

Tel: 0131 6563200

Email: enquiries@nes.scot.nhs.uk

Website: www.nes.scot.nhs.uk

NHS Business Services Authority

Website: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Address: 20 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0RN

Tel: 0345 7726100

Email: rcn.library@rcn.org.uk

Website: www.rcn.org.uk

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Address: 23 Portland Place, Marylebone, City of Westminster, London W1B

Tel: 020 7637 7181

Email: UKenquiries@nmc-uk.org

Website: www.nmc-uk.org

Nursing Careers

Tel: 0345 6060655

Website: nursing.nhscareers.nhs.uk

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: 42 South Oswald Road, Edinburgh EH9 2HH

Tel: 0345 7726100

Email: scottish.board@rcn.org.uk

Website: www.rcn.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

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