- Provide care for children and young people with acute or long-term health problems
- Requires knowledge of psychology and the ability to work well with children
- With experience you could move into a specialised area
- Working with doctors to assess the needs of children who are ill, injured or have disabilities
- Deciding what level of nursing care is required
- Working closely with parents and carers to help them cope with having an ill child in hospital
- Advising parents and carers on how to care for their child on returning hom
- Interpreting a child's behaviour to recognise if their health has become worse
As a children's nurse, you could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a hospice, at a children's care home, at a GP practice or at a health centre.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you may need to wear a uniform.
You can do a degree in children's nursing approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. Some degree courses let you study another area of nursing alongside children's nursing.
You may be able to join a nursing degree on the second year of a course if you already have a degree in a health-related subject, psychology, life sciences or social work. Full-time courses usually take 3 years. You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science and 2 or 3 A levels, including a science, or a level 3 diploma or access to higher education in health, science or nursing.
Alternatively, you may be able to do a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting like a hospital. The apprenticeship takes around 4 years and is a mix of academic study and on the job training. You must be supported by your employer to take this route.
You may find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in healthcare, or working with children and young people, before you apply for nurse training.
You'll need to register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council and pass enhanced background checks for this role.
With experience you could move into a specialised area like burns and plastics, child protection, cancer care, neonatal nursing, or intensive care. You could also become a sister, ward manager or team leader. In these roles you'd have responsibility for running a ward or a team of nurses in the community. Other management roles you could work towards include matron or director of nursing.
You could train as a health visitor, neonatal or school nurse, or practice nurse in a doctor's surgery. You could also become self-employed or work overseas. With further study and experience, you could move into a nurse consultant position. In this job you'd work with patients to carry out research. You'd also develop and deliver training.