Progressing your Nursing Career

What next in progressing your nursing career?

Career options for nurses wanting a change.

The working patterns for the general public are changing, with extended hours, shift patterns, later retirement ages, meaning we will be working for longer! Latest estimates indicate that the next generation may be working until the age of 100 and on average will have over 30 jobs in their lifetime – that a far cry from the lifelong career many of signed up to when becoming a nurse (though nightshifts and unsocial hours are no stranger to us!)

Whilst many choose to remain on the frontline as a nurse throughout their career, some work the way up the ladder taking on more responsibility in leadership and management roles either within the NHS or the ever increasing private healthcare companies that are coming onto the market. The changes to the workforce and development of new companies bring with it opportunities for nurses who want to branch out and use their skills in other roles.

Here are a few of the many roles available to nurses:

University lecturer

Role: if you enjoy teaching students and feel particularly skilled in an area that you feel you could help others develop, then becoming a lecturer may be the role for you. The role often includes teaching (pre and post grad), being a personal tutor to students and often the opportunity to participate in research. Many posts also allow for some clinical work to enable you to remain on the nursing register.

Qualifications – you will need a post graduate certificate in Learning and Teaching (adult education). A masters degree is usually required and a PHD at the very least desirable, if not essential, along with previous experience of research in your clinical area of expertise.

Average pay: around £40,000 -50,000

Nurse prescriber

Once you have gained the non-medical prescribing qualification then there are various paths this can open up for you, from nurse prescriber with in a GP to setting up your own botox clinic!
There are two types of nurse prescribers in the UK, Nurse Independent Prescribers and Nurse supplementary prescribers. Independent prescribers are allowed to prescribe any licensed and unlicensed drugs within their clinical competency. Nurse supplementary prescribing is based on a relationship between a doctor and a specifically trained nurse where the nurse is able to prescribe any drug listed in a patient specific manage the plan once the patient has been diagnosed by a doctor. This role works best with patients with long term health conditions.
The has been evidenced to offer improved waiting times for patients and also brings autonomy, increased responsibility and improved job satisfaction for nurses.

Courses are offered at universities across the UK.

Salary: within the NHS posts are usually offered at Band 7.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Are you interested in improving the quality and standards of care? A job with the Care Quality Commission enables you to be involved in measuring standards and ensuring services are providing the best quality care. There are several different roles that contribute to ensuring minimum standards of care provision are met. All roles require excellent communication skills, drive and motivation to improve services.

Secondment opportunities are often available meaning you can try this and see if the role is for you.

Approved mental health practitioner (AMHP)

The creation of the AMHP role has opened up what was traditionally a Social Work role to all disciplines. Training is offered at universities across the country and it is usually rigorous training. AMHP’s require a thorough and up to date knowledge of mental health law and are required to apply for re-approval every 5 years.
The role brings with it increased responsibility (and usually an enhance salary) and the opportunity for more autonomy in decision making. It is no doubt a challenging role, but one that can be very rewarding.

Best Interest assessor

Again, this has historically been a social work role however this need not be the case. Following a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the deprivation of liberty there has been unprecedented demand for best interest assessors.

The training is offered at various universities and usually involves around a six week course which needs to be followed up by annual refresher courses. This will give you the baseline however, the skills needed to complete this role effectively are built throughout your career and no amount of training can fully prepare you for what you may face in this role. Prior involvement in safeguarding vulnerable adults and
understanding of the social care system will prove invaluable for this role.

Safeguarding children lead

Whilst safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is a key role for all nurses, there are specialist roles for nurses to lead on this within organisations and to support and advise other professions and link with local schools and social service departments to ensure policies and procedures are met and correct safeguards are in place and being adhered to. These roles can be within trusts or sometimes based within educational facilities. The roles are usually offered at Band 7 pay grade.