Nurses look after people when they are sick or injured.
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What does a nurse do?

Nurses look after people when they are sick or injured. You’ll provide support to doctors and other medical staff, take blood and urine samples, and in some cases, you may carry out minor surgical procedures.

As a nurse you can specialise in a number of different areas:

  • adult nursing – where you look after adults between 18 and 65
  • paediatric nursing – where you look after children
  • geriatric nursing – where you look after elderly people
  • mental health nursing – where you look after people with mental health problems
  • district nursing – where you travel around an area looking after a variety of local patients
  • learning disability nursing – where you help people of all ages with learning disabilities to live healthy and independent lives

You’ll need to have a caring personality and excellent communication skills, as you’ll be dealing with a variety of patients in potentially stressful environments. 


What do I need to do to become a nurse?

To become a nurse you will need to complete a degree. You will usually choose which area you will specialise in before starting your degree. You will also need to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. 

To do a nursing degree, you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C) including maths, English and science, plus at least two A levels with one in a science or health-related subject.  

Alternatively, a level 3 vocational course in science or health and social care may be accepted – check with universities. 


Related skills

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Discipline
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • Physical fitness
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • A levels with one in a science or health-related subject

Vocational route

Level 3 vocational course in science or health and social care

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Foreign languages

Essential qualifications

  • Nursing degree
  • DBS check

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

You may work in a doctor’s surgery, a hospital, or on the road as a district nurse. You’ll usually work shifts. 

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