Adult Nurse • Job Description, Salary & Benefits

Are you an absolute lifesaver? Are you kind and caring? Do you want ultimate job satisfaction? Well then, a career in adult nursing could be the thing for you.

Adult nurses are responsible for assisting doctors and other medical specialists in the diagnosis, observation, testing and treatment of patients.

Careers in nursing are far from predictable. On a day-to-day basis, you’ll be carrying out typical nursing activities, such as monitoring temperature, pulse, breathing and blood pressure and recording accurate results at regular intervals.

However, you’ll constantly be kept on your toes. No day is ever the same in a doctor’s surgery or on a hospital ward.

In addition to your routine duties, you’ll be providing prescribed medication through oral or intravenous methods, administering fluids, helping doctors with tests and patient examinations, and prepping patients for surgical procedures.

You’ll also be responsible for providing information to patients and their families in an appropriate manner and alleviating their concerns with guidance and support.

However, it’s not all about hands-on patient care; nursing comes with its fair share of paperwork too.

For instance, you’ll be responsible for preparing and maintaining detailed patient records, and conducting research to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest developments in the provision of nursing and healthcare, rules and regulations, new drug therapies, equipment and treatment procedures.

The majority of the UK’s adult nurses are employed by the NHS, and the rest are employed by private clinics, hospices, charities, community health centres and other healthcare service providers.

Salary & benefits

At entry-level, an adult nurse can expect to earn £21,692. However, as you progress in your career, your salary will increase to around £28,000 per annum.

In a senior position, you could begin to earn anywhere between £30,000 and £95,000 a year. Not bad, eh?

Working hours

Adult nurses need to be flexible with their time as working hours tend to be long, irregular and unsociable. Nurses tend to work in accordance with planned shift patterns. However, these are subject to last-minute changes or adjustments and nurses need to be prepared for on-call duty with little or no prior notice.

Consecutive shifts are also frequent, especially in facilities with staff shortages and 24-hour accident and emergency services.


To qualify as an adult nurse, you are required to study for a degree in adult nursing. Adult nurses also need to obtain membership from the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).

Furthermore, all adult nurses are required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Generally, nurses must also have good communication skills, patience, emotional and mental strength, high levels of self-motivation and confidence.

Training & progression

Upon successful completion of pre-registration studies, nurses are required to register with the NMC and move into full-time work.

Registration needs to be renewed once every three years and is dependent on fulfilling continuing professional development requirements. Nurses also need to attend training courses throughout their career to keep their skills fresh and up-to-date.

Career progression is facilitated through on-the-job performance. Many adult nurses eventually choose to specialise in a particular sub-category of nursing, such as cardiovascular, sexual health, theatre or critical care nursing.

Many nurses eventually progress into more senior roles, becoming a ward sister or ward manager. Adult nurses can also move into teaching or research roles, become nurse consultants, or offer their expertise to community healthcare initiatives and international organisations, such as the Red Cross.

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