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How to Become a Speciality Nurse in the U.K.

specialty nurse

Finding a niche or speciality for yourself as a nurse is a great way to differentiate yourself. Read on to learn how to become a speciality nurse in the U.K.


Becoming a specialty nurse can be a rewarding opportunity to work within a diverse career.

You have the ability to enact change in other’s lives on a daily basis.

The current job market has an unprecedented need for those wanting to enact that change.

Whether it is general practice nursing or if you’d like to focus on becoming a nurse, the careers in the NHS are there for those qualified and prepared to take on the responsibility.

Know What Is Required To Become A Specialty Nurse

To become a nurse you will need a degree in the nursing field.

Along with that, you will need to be actively registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

You will be required to have your background checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) by potential employers.

Be aware that employers in Scotland and Northern Ireland have a different set of rules. If this applies to you, be sure to become familiar with the correct process.

Choose a Specialty

There are four main nursing fields in the U.K. However, each specialty has many varying job disciplines within it.

Pick a Parent Category:

  • Adult Nursing
    • This role implies the care of adult patients.
    • The ailments of patients can be varied.
    • Generally, Adult Nurses work as a part of a team of different disciplines.
    • Hospitals, the community, health centers, and general practice offices are common job sites.
  • Children’s Nursing
    • This role implies pediatric care.
    • Assess the needs of a child’s medical, social, cultural, and familial status to best apply care.
    • Requires a professional and interpersonal communication with parents and the children.
  • Learning Disability Nursing
    • Focus on improving or maintaining a patient’s physical and mental health.
    • Often, you will assist in bettering the chances for a patient to live a fulfilling life.
    • You will work in specific wards of hospitals specializing in palliative care or speech and language therapy.
    • Depending on the circumstances, you may work in the patient’s home.
  • Mental Health Nursing
    • Mainly based in mental healthcare institutions such as psychiatric wards, psychiatric intensive care units, and outpatient care.
    • You will work closely with psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.
    • You must build a close relationship with those you nurse to provide functional therapy.

Common Disciplines and Career Paths

As stated above, nurses work within plenty of disciplines in each specialty.

The specialty nurse field offers opportunities in various position bands including:

  • Midwifery and Neonatal Care
  • Health Education
  • Social Work and Medical Therapy
  • District and Practice Nursing

Only to name a few.

If the management aspect of a nursing career interests you, looking into becoming a matron or a director of a nursing department in a hospital may be beneficial.

To further your career opportunities, one can pursue a master’s degree.

Positions like Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Nurse Consultant become available after completing further education certifications.

Many positions within the specialty nurse field are available as there is currently a shortage of nurses in the U.K.

According to a BBC report, the average vacancies among nursing positions hit 9% with 23,443 vacancies as of February, 2016.

With most vacancies in the fields of oncology and midwifery, studying to become a specialty nurse is in high demand.

Understand The Job Environment

Only those with strong work ethic and a passion for caring for others should pursue a career in nursing.

Standing for the majority of your shift tending to your patients is very physically demanding.

While there are physical requirements to nursing, it can also be mentally taxing.

Working full-time in a potentially hectic environment for an average of 37.5 hours a week (including some nights, weekends, and holidays) can be draining.

Maintaining good personal health is not only important for the patients but for the nurse as well.

The hospital environment is fast paced and you will need to remain calm under sometimes constant pressure.

But the difficulty in the career field is worth it.

The average nursing salary ranges from £15,251 for Band 1 to £99,437 for Band 9, depending on your region.

Know The Expectations

As a specialty nurse, you will be expected to work with multiple patients and doctors at a time.

That will require practical communication skills including listening to patient’s needs, creating a positive environment, and establishing relationships.

You will need to be organised and maintain time management to:

  • Keep track of patient data.
  • Protect confidential information.
  • Document progress and examination outcomes.
  • Apply proper care procedures.

Some positions will require you to work among varying job sites such as hospitals, clinics, community centers, or alternative health institutions.

Being flexible and willing to adapt to change will make the process of becoming a specialty nurse easier.

Expect on a day-to-day basis you will have to:

  • Take patient’s vitals.
  • Record data.
  • Administer medications.
  • Be familiar with medical equipment.
  • Properly clean wounds and lesions, as well as workspaces.
  • Create a positive environment for patients, their families, and staff.

Most importantly, be adaptable.

As a specialty nurse, you are part of a team. Your goal is to uphold nursing standards and provide proper care.

Being flexible opens more career opportunities as you show your skill and work ethic.

Tips To Get Hired

If you want to become a specialty nurse in the U.K., you will already be in high demand. Being qualified and doing well in your interview should mean a position in the field.

After you’ve chosen your specialty, completed nursing school, and registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the only thing left to do is to interview.

Don’t let the stress of the interview deter you from pursuing the career.

Preparing for the interview ahead of time will help you engage with your interviewer and ensure you are remembered.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Showing you have the ability to work as part of a team will be crucial.
  • Be professional and communicate appropriately.
  • Focus on expressing your passions.
  • Demonstrate humility and the desire to continue learning.


Determining a future career can be daunting for anyone, especially when years of education will go into getting there.

Regardless if the shortage of nurses is unfortunate, you can take advantage of the opportunity to pursue a fulfilling career in the field of nursing.

The time to become a specialty nurse is more crucial now than ever.

Make the change and begin impacting other’s lives in a great way.

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