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What is a children’s nurse?

Children's nurses provide care for children/young people (from birth to 18 years old) and their families. In order to do this, children's nurses learn about all aspects of a child’s development (social, emotional, mental and physical) and how this relates to the approach to care.

Is children’s nursing the right career for me?

Children's nursing is hard work, rewarding and fun but can be an emotional rollercoaster especially when caring for very ill children. Children are not small adults; they react to illness differently and they may become suddenly unwell far more quickly than an adult. However, they have the potential to recover quickly as well.

Play is a very important factor in all nursing settings and a sense of fun is a must! On a daily basis you’ll need to use a broad range of skills, including:

  • listening and communication
  • problem solving
  • good judgement
  • offering advice

What does a children’s nurse do?

Children may have acute illnesses requiring interventions including surgical or medical care. They may have very complex conditions and be cared for by parents in both in their homes or hospital setting. This can place tremendous stress on a family and children's nurses have to acknowledge the parent as an expert carer; providing care and support as needed in partnership with the family.

Children's nurses work in partnership with both the child and their parents and often play a central role in teaching family and carers to undertake a range of complex procedures to allow children to live a full and normal a life as possible. This care includes activities of daily living (washing, dressing, continence care, etc) to more complex interventions.

Where children’s nurses work?

Children's nurses work in a variety of settings; within hospitals this could include neonatal units, general paediatric wards, specialist ward and intensive care. As the focus of care moves to the community they may work in a child's home, schools, clinic/children's centre setting in a children's hospice.

Part of multidisciplinary teams, children's nurses work closely with play staff, doctors, healthcare support workers, social workers, health visitors, teachers, psychologists and many more.

How much do children’s nurses earn?

In NHS Wales, the starting salary is band 5 for a newly registered nurse. For more information about bandings and pay scales visit our Pay and Benefits page.

What career progression opportunities are available for children’s nurses?

Children’s nursing offers many different and flexible employment options. Once you’ve qualified and gained some clinical experience you could become a:

  • Specialist in community care
  • School nurse
  • Lecturer in a university
  • Researcher
  • Service Manager
  • Health Visitor
  • Neonatal Nurse Specialist
  • Advanced Nurse Practitioner
  • Consultant Nurse

How do I become children’s nurse?

Do I need a degree?

Yes, if you want to work in the NHS you will need to complete a Nurse and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved course.

Where can I train in Wales?

Visit the Pre-registration Education courses page to find out more.

Is there funding available?

Yes, for further information about available funding and eligibility please visit Student Awards Services.

Are there postgraduate opportunities?

If you already have a relevant degree and healthcare experience it may be possible for you to undertake a postgraduate diploma or masters in nursing.

Do I need previous experience to apply for the course?

Having any experience in a caring role, both professionally and personally, will be an advantage.

How do I get experience?

To find out about work experience and volunteering opportunities in NHS Wales visit our Work section.

How do I apply for a job?

All vacancies for NHS Wales are advertised on NHS Jobs. Visit our Work section for more information.

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