In this blog, you will learn:

  • What is nursing?
  • What are the different types of nursing?
  • What is the most common type of nursing?
  • What are the different bands of nursing? 
  • Where the latest nursing jobs are and how to apply for them.

The term ‘nursing’ encompasses a broad spectrum of specialities and roles, each tailored to address the specific healthcare requirements of patients. From Critical Care Nurses to Mental Health Nurses, healthcare professionals are responsible for enhancing the quality of life for patients, whether this be for a physical or mental ailment.

Nurses also play an essential part in caring for their patients mental and emotional health. 

Healthcare recruitment specialist Kaylah Henderson said, “Nursing is so important as by focusing on specific populations or conditions, Nurses can consider not only the physical aspects of health, but also the psychological, emotional and social components that contribute to overall wellbeing, ensuring an enhanced quality of care for all patients nationwide.”

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a Nurse, we’re taking a look at the different types of nursing and everything else you need to know about this fulfilling career choice. 


What is nursing?

Nursing is a healthcare profession, focusing on promoting and assisting the health of individuals, families and wider communities. Nurses are responsible for providing patients with direct care, administering medications and collaborating with other healthcare professionals. 

As well as a variety in specialities, nursing can also take place in a number of different settings, from hospitals to community clinics. Nursing is an extremely rewarding career choice with professionals serving as essential caregivers and advocates for those in need. 


What are the different types of nursing?

The nursing industry consists of a number of different specialities, including:

  • Mental Health Nurse.
  • Adult Nurse.
  • Children’s Nurse.
  • Registered General Nurse.
  • Learning Disability Nurse.
  • Critical Care Nurse.
  • Palliative Care Nurse.


Mental Health Nurse

A Mental Health Nurse specialises in providing care for individuals who are facing a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.

The responsibilities of a Mental Health Nurse include supporting a person’s recovery, monitoring patients, developing care plans and offering therapeutic support, all to help patients live independently.

A Mental Health Nurse can work in various settings, such as a psychiatric hospital, community mental health centre or an outpatient clinic and it is essential that they establish trust with their patients, wherever they are based. 

As well as establishing trust, there are many other traits that make a good Mental Health Nurse, such as strong communication skills and a compassionate nature.

The most common route for pursuing a career as a Mental Health Nurse is to complete a university degree. Entry requirements for such courses can vary depending on the location of study, however a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4/C or above are typically required along with two A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications. 


Adult Nurse

An Adult Nurse specialises in providing healthcare to adults, typically aged 18 and older.

Adult Nurses are trained to assess, plan, implement and evaluate nursing care for adult patients who are suffering from a range of health needs. Their responsibilities include administering medication, monitoring patients and collaborating with healthcare professionals.

Patients may be dealing with acute or chronic health conditions, so it is essential that Adult Nurses are trained to deal with a variety of health conditions, across a number of settings from hospitals to community healthcare facilities. 

The main route to train as an Adult Nurse is a university degree, where entry requirements can vary depending on the location of study. Typically, a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4/C are required in order to pursue a career as an Adult Nurse. 


Children’s Nurse

A Children’s Nurse, also known as a Pediatric Nurse, specialises in providing healthcare to children and adolescents dealing with a range of health needs.

Children’s Nurses are responsible for addressing the physical, emotional and developmental needs of younger patients. They must administer age appropriate medications, collaborate with other healthcare professionals and support families so that they are able to understand and manage their child’s health conditions.

Strong communication skills are essential for Children’s Nurses, in order to effectively interpret a child’s behaviour and gauge their level of suffering. Whereas adults are generally able to express their feelings and identify the severity of pain, a child may not be able to express this with the same level of detail. For this reason, a Children’s Nurse must be trained to spot when a child’s health is deteriorating.  

The typical route for pursuing a career as a Children’s Nurse is to complete a university degree, however the entry requirements can vary depending on the location of the course. 


Registered General Nurse

A Registered General Nurse is the term used in the UK to refer to a nurse who has completed a general nursing program and is qualified to provide comprehensive nursing to individuals of any age. 

The word ‘registered’ indicates that the nurse is registered with an appropriate regulatory body in order to ensure that they adhere to professional standards and are legally authorised to practise as a nurse. 

The word ‘general’ refers to the fact that such individuals are trained to provide a variety of medical and surgical specialities and work in a variety of healthcare settings from hospitals to community clinics. 

Registered General Nurses are responsible for assessing patients, planning and implementing their care and administering any required medication. 


Learning Disability Nurse

A Learning Disability Nurse specialises in providing healthcare to individuals with learning difficulties. They are required to support people who may have cognitive impairments, developmental delays or face other challenges that affect their ability to learn. 

In order to support patients effectively and reduce the barriers to them living independently, Learning Disability Nurses collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as Social Workers, Occupational Therapists and Clinical Psychologists

A Learning Disability Nurse can work in various healthcare settings from a hospital to a residential care facility. 

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a Learning Disability Nurse, strong communication and interpersonal skills are required, along with the relevant training and qualifications. 


Critical Care Nurse

A Critical Care Nurse is a highly specialised registered nurse who can be found working in an intensive care unit or similar critical care setting. They are responsible for providing care to patients suffering from life threatening illness or injury and therefore require constant monitoring and attention.

Patients might be recovering from surgery, suffering with cardiac complications or be the victims of some sort of trauma and therefore Critical Care Nurses must be trained to deal with a variety of situations.

The primary responsibilities of a Critical Care Nurse include administering medication, managing life support equipment, providing emotional support to a patient's loved ones and coordinating care with other healthcare professionals. 

The fast-paced and demanding nature of a critical care unit means professionals working in this setting should have specialised knowledge and skills in order to adapt to the high-pressured environment. They must be able to respond effectively to a variety of healthcare complications and deal with multiple patients at any one time. 


Palliative Care Nurse

A Palliative Care Nurse is a healthcare professional who specialises in supporting individuals with life-limiting illnesses, to enhance their comfort and promote dignity throughout the illness.

Palliative Care Nurses often work alongside a multidisciplinary team, which can include Physicians and Social Workers, in settings such as hospices, hospitals and even in the patients home. 

The primary role of a Palliative Care Nurse is to help a patient manage their pain, control symptoms and to coordinate care plans that align with the patients preferences.

A Palliative Care Nurse also plays a big part in supporting the families of patients who may face losing a loved one. The emotional support provided by Palliative Care Nurses is crucial for helping families throughout an often complex and upsetting stage of their lives. 

For this reason, it is essential that a Palliative Care Nurse is able to demonstrate compassion and handle complex situations with the utmost respect and care for all individuals involved. 


What is the most common type of nursing?

The most common type of nursing depends on a variety of factors including the healthcare needs of a population, population demographics and healthcare trends.

Population demographics can influence the requirement for different nurses. For example, if the average age of a local population is higher rather than lower, there may be more requirement for Adult Nurses, rather than Children’s Nurses.

Similarly, changes in healthcare trends can also affect the need for different specialities. 

For example, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many doctors appointments are now conducted online or over the phone and therefore the requirement for different nursing specialties may have altered.

As technology continues to advance, nursing roles may need to further adapt to make use of digital tools and address ever changing healthcare requirements. 

Kaylah Henderson says “I speak to hundreds of healthcare professionals every week and a recurring conversation we have is about the importance of technology and their skills adapting to manage technological changes.”

Kaylah continues “I think many Nurses are seeing the importance of keeping up with these changes in order to continue delivering effective patient care.”

It’s important to note that healthcare trends might also result in new specialities emerging in response to healthcare challenges.


What are the different bands of nursing?

Ever wondered what healthcare jobs pay? The NHS classifies Nurses into different pay bands which reflect their level of responsibility and experience. 

Bands 1-4 generally refer to support staff, rather than Registered Nurses, however bands 5-9 show clear career progression for Nurses.

Kaylah continues, “The NHS banding system is great as it provides a structured approach to determine pay rates and salaries and helps standardise pay scales across different roles and levels within healthcare, promoting fairness and consistency.”

Kaylah continues, “I also think the bands are a great way to motivate opportunities for career progression, as healthcare professionals can advance to higher bandings as they gain experience, acquire additional qualifications, and take on more responsibilities.”

As of 2024, nursing bands include:

  • Band 5.
  • Band 6.
  • Band 7.
  • Bands 8 and 9.


Band 5

Band 5 nursing roles refer to those who have just qualified and are just stepping into their scrubs as a qualified healthcare professional.
The current salary for a Band 5 Nurse is £28,407 and the highest number a Nurse can earn within the Band 5 category is £32,934.


Band 6

Typically, Senior Nurses, Deputy Ward Managers, specialist Nurses and Health Visitors are found within Band 6.

Starting at £35,392, if a Band 6 Nurse has more than 5 years experience, they could earn up to £42,618. 


Band 7

Band 7 roles start at £43,742 and can reach just over £50,000 for anyone with more than 5 years experience in the role.

Ward Managers, Clinical Specialists and Emergency Nurse Practitioners can all be found within this band. 

As the bands progress, specialised knowledge and experience is crucial. 


Bands 8 and 9

There are a limited number of roles that qualify to sit in the very top bands of the NHS nursing banding.

Generally, Band 8 and 9 positions apply only to Modern Matrons, Consultants and Chief Nurses. Band 8 is further broken down into subcategories, with Band 8a roles beginning at £50,592 and Band 8d roles reaching over £96,000 per annum.

Band 9 roles reach an even higher annual salary, starting at £99,891 and rising to more than £114,000 with 5 or more years worth of experience.

At Band 9, professionals are experts within their field and use their expertise to educate other healthcare professionals.

Whilst the banding system promotes opportunities for career progression, Kaylah Henderson points out, “My only criticism of the banding system is that it doesn’t necessarily account for individual variation skills, experience, or performance. I think it would be more beneficial to work towards a more flexible approach, which could better recognise and reward exceptional contributions.”


Where can I apply for nursing jobs?

As a dynamic healthcare recruitment agency, we have a fantastic track record of connecting qualified and experienced nursing professionals with NHS Trusts and private sector organisations throughout the United Kingdom.

On the lookout for your next nursing job? Check out the latest positions available now or upload your CV and we’ll contact you when a relevant position becomes available. 

Alternatively, get in touch with our specialist healthcare recruiter, Kaylah Henderson, who will be happy to assist you in taking the next step in your career!

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