Nursing and healthcare pay 2020; salary predictions for nursing students

Nursing & Healthcare Salary vs Job Role

1. Healthcare assistants (HCAs) and assistant practitioners (APs) role and pay

There are no specific national requirements for becoming an HCA. You simply need to be passionate about working with people and be caring and compassionate to apply for a job as one. Although it’s advised to get some work experience first, so you know what it is like to work in healthcare before you take the plunge. Once you have been accepted, your employer will provide the training you need.

What salary can I expect as a healthcare assistant?

For a healthcare assistant, you can expect a starting salary of £18,005 a year rising to £24,907 a year once more experienced.

Further training and career progression

With training, you could become an assistant practitioner in chiropody or podiatry, occupational therapy, radiography or train to work in physiotherapy.

2. Nursing associate role and pay

The role of nursing associate sits alongside existing nursing care support workers and fully qualified registered nurses in both health and social care.

The role of nursing associates

What salary can I expect as a nursing associate ?

For a nursing associate, you can expect a starting salary of £18,005 a year rising to £24,157 a year once more experienced.

Further training and career progression

A nursing associate will work and study towards a level 5 qualification. Qualified nursing associates will be required to work to a nationally recognised code of conduct. A nursing associate is not a registered nurse, but with further training, it can be possible to ‘top-up’ your training to become one. You can train to become a registered nurse by completing a shortened nursing degree or a nursing degree apprenticeship.

3. Nursing degree apprenticeships role and pay

Nursing apprenticeships have been developed to boost existing healthcare support workers (HCSWs) and Assistant Practitioners into nursing roles.

What salary can I expect as an apprentice nurse?

The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour.

Further training and career progression

You can train to become a fully qualified registered nurse by completing the nursing degree apprenticeship. Once you have gained more experience, you can carry out further training to specialise in a specific area of nursing.

4. Graduate entry nursing role and pay

If you already have an undergraduate degree, this two-year course could give you the skills and knowledge needed for a modern nursing career. Previous experience in a healthcare setting and a minimum of a 2:2 degree is required for entry, although a 2:1 is preferred.

What salary can I expect as a graduate nurse?

You can expect to start at £24,907 rising to £37,890 when more experienced.

5. Full-time nursing degree role and pay

You can complete a four-year nursing degree at University to become a fully qualified nurse. You must also be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). You will need to choose which of the four nursing specialisms (adult, children, mental health, or learning disability) you’d like to study. Nursing requires a high level of technical competence and clinical decision-making skills. To develop these, you’ll spend half of your nursing degree on supervised placements in local hospital and community settings.

£5,000 a year towards living expenses

What salary can I expect as a fully qualified nurse?

Once fully qualified, you can expect a starting salary of £24,907 rising to £37,890 when more experienced.

NHS Pay Bands explained

You will often see the salary for various nursing roles explained in bands. The pay band you are put on to depends on how many years’ experience you have and at what level in nursing you are at. For example, a newly qualified nurse will start on band 5, which is £24,907 a year and will go up in increments for years of service and/or experience they have achieved.

NHS Nursing Pay Bands

6. Roles in nursing

When you start your journey into nursing, you will be required to go into one of four specialisms. Adult nursing, children’s nursing, mental health nurse, or learning disability nursing. When you first go out on placement, you’ll often find you’ll get to experience a wide range of settings, which will give you a good indicator into which area of nursing you prefer.

Adult nurse role and pay

From the start of your training and into your first job, you will learn how to observe patients and assess their needs. You’ll learn to plan and deliver the most appropriate care for them, and evaluate the results.

Where will I work as an adult nurse?

You might be working in:

  • hospital wards, outpatient units or specialist departments
  • the community eg patient’s home, a clinic, GP surgery, walk-in centres or nursing homes.
  • the prison service
  • the police
  • the voluntary or private sector

Children’s nurse role and pay

Nursing a child is not just a question of caring for a small adult. Children have very specific health needs and you need to understand how a healthy child develops towards adulthood to minimise the impact of illness. This involves working in closely with the parents or guardians.

Where will I work as a children’s nurse?

A child’s care can take place in a range of settings:

  • hospitals
  • daycare centres
  • child health clinics
  • child’s home

What salary can I expect as a children’s nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £24,907 rising to £37,890 when more experienced.

Mental health nurse role and pay

Your role will be to build effective relationships with people who use your services, and also with their relatives and carers. You might help one person to take their medication correctly while advising another about relevant therapies or social activities.

Role of a mental health nurse

Where will you work as a mental health Nurse?

Mental health nurses are usually based in hospitals or the community, as this is where most of the mental healthcare is offered. If you work in a residential setting, you may do shifts and provide 24-hour care.

  • psychiatric intensive care unit
  • psychiatric ward
  • outpatients unit
  • specialist unit dealing with eating disorders.
  • GP surgery
  • prison
  • community health care centre
  • residential centre
  • patients’ own homes.

What salary can I expect as a mental health nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £24,907 rising to £44,503 when more experienced.

Learning disability nurse role and pay

Children identified as having a learning disability are living longer, more fulfilled lives into adolescence, adulthood and older age. Learning disability nurses play a vital role in working across the whole life span in both health and care settings.

  • improving or maintaining a person’s physical and mental health
  • reducing barriers to them living an independent life
  • supporting the person in living a fulfilling life

Where will you work as a learning disability nurse?

You will be supporting people of all ages with learning disabilities in a range of settings, including:

  • people’s homes
  • education
  • workplaces
  • residential and community centres
  • hospitals
  • mental health settings
  • prisons

What salary can I expect as a learning disability nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £24,907 rising to £37,890 when more experienced.

Career progression

With experience in nursing, you could then go onto specialise in a field such as intensive care or operating theatre work or become a nursing sister, ward manager or team leader.

7. Nursing specialisms

Once you have gained more experience in your nursing role, you can then go onto to further training to work in specialist areas.

District nurse role and pay

District nurses make a difference every day to the lives of the people they visit at home and in residential care homes. They provide increasingly complex care for patients and support for family members.

What salary can I expect as a district nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £31,365 rising to £44,503 when more experienced.

General practice nurse role and pay

Nurses are an important part of delivering care in general practice. An increasing shift of care from hospitals to general practice provides nurses with an exciting career choice.

What salary can I expect as a general practice nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £24,907 rising to £44,503 when more experienced.

Neonatal nurse role and pay

Neonatal nurses care for newborn babies who are born premature or sick. A newborn baby can suffer from a range of conditions requiring treatment.

What salary can I expect as a neonatal nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £24,907 rising to £44,503 when more experienced.

Prison nurse role and pay

Nurses working in prisons provide similar services to those who work in a GP practice, as well as integrated mental health and substance misuse services.

What salary can I expect as a prison nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £27,761 rising to £64,350 when more experienced.

Theatre nurse role and pay

Theatre nurses work with patients of all ages and are involved in each phase of a person’s operation.

The role of a theatre nurse

Where will I work as a theatre nurse?

You will work primarily within hospital operating theatres and anaesthetic/recovery areas. You may also be involved with procedures on wards, clinics or in other specialist areas such as cardiac catheterisation units. You will work as part of a large team that will include surgeons, anaesthetists, operating department practitioner (ODPs), theatre support workers and porters.

Entry requirements

You will need to be a registered adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse to work as a theatre nurse. After a period of induction, you will undertake specialist training including courses to consolidate the specialist skills you will require to work in theatre.

What salary can I expect as a theatre nurse?

You can expect a starting salary of £24,907 rising to £37,890 when more experienced.

8. Midwifery role and pay

There is a shortage of midwives across the globe, making the demand for midwives more important than ever.

The role of a midwife

Maternity Support Worker

As a maternity support worker (MSW), you will work under the supervision of a registered midwife. They are sometimes also known as maternity healthcare support workers.

  • helping to care for mothers and babies
  • making routine observations (temperature, pulse, blood pressure, breathing, etc)
  • updating records and other admin tasks
  • educating parents one-to-one or in groups
  • taking blood samples for testing
  • ordering stationery and equipment
  • preparing equipment
  • promoting breastfeeding
  • reporting problems to a registered midwife or nurse
  1. the NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services
  2. the NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support

What salary can I expect working in midwifery?

As a maternity support worker or assistant, you can expect a starting salary of £18,005 a year.

9. NHS benefits

  • Enhanced pay for unsociable hours — between 30% and 60% above the standard rate for night shifts, weekends and bank holidays
  • The NHS Pension Scheme remains one of the most generous and comprehensive in the UK
  • 27 days’ holiday per year, plus bank holidays
  • Free access to occupational health and counselling support
  • Six months full pay and six months half pay for sick leave
  • Generous maternity and paternity leave (well above the statutory minimum)
  • Vast and varied access to training courses and professional development

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