Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month, we explore the role of an Adult Nurse.

So what is an Adult Nurse?

Adult nurses assess the needs of each patient in order to plan a care programme for them. You will work alongside doctors and other medical practitioners to observe how patients progress on treatment plans and modify them as necessary. You will also give patients practical care such as administering medicines and injections, changing dressings and checking blood pressure.

You could work in a variety of positions, such as a community nurse, occupational nurse or healthcare assistant.


You will usually work 37.5 hours per week but overtime is available for those who want it. If you are working in a hospital, these hours will include night and weekend shifts.


You could work in a number of locations including hospitals, GP surgeries, prisons, hospices and in patients’ homes. If you are required to travel around in the local community, a driving licence is useful.

Adult nurses in hospitals work in specific wards, such as intensive care or accident and emergency.

Type of work

You will be working with patients from all parts of the community.

You will usually wear a uniform.

Things to consider

Helping a wide range of people to get better or become more independent is both rewarding and enjoyable.

Distressing aspects
You may have to deal with distressed, angry or violent patients.

Flexible hours
Career breaks are common and the NHS runs specialist courses to get nurses who have had a break back up to speed quickly.

If you specialise in a particular area and undertake the training to become a nurse consultant, you could advance towards band 8, which pays £40,028–£82,434.

Travel/work abroad

UK nursing qualifications are recognised across the globe so there are opportunities to work abroad.

Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need further professional training

You must hold a degree in adult nursing that has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Minimum entry requirements for a degree are usually 2–3 A levels/H grades, ideally including a science-based subject, and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England), including English, maths and a science subject. All applicants must obtain clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before commencing their training. Alternatively, you could take a nursing degree apprenticeship. Degree apprenticeships will qualify applicants to the same level as a graduate and typically take 4 years to complete.

Salary progression
Nurses’ salaries follow a rising scale divided into 9 bands. As a fully qualified nurse you could start on band 5, which pays between £24,214 and £30,112.

Those who take on a senior position with additional responsibilities can advance towards band 6, which pays between £30,401 and £37,267.

If you specialise in a particular area and undertake the training to become a nurse consultant, you could advance towards band 7, which pays £37,570–£43,772, or band 8, which pays £44,606–£86,687.

Top Tip
Pre-entry experience is not essential, but relevant experience as a care worker or in some other work with people is good preparation.

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.