Practice nurses work in clinics and health centres and alongside General Practitioners in doctors’ surgeries, carrying out treatment on patients.
You could be:
running regular clinics for groups of patients who have a chronic illness such as diabetes
carrying out checks on and monitoring patients with conditions such as asthma
recording a patient’s weight, temperature and blood pressure, giving injections and medicines, syringing ears, washing eyes and taking blood samples
cleaning and dressing wounds and removing stitches
giving immunisations, to children and adults, by injection or orally
carrying out men’s and women’s health screening
discussing patients’ progress with doctors, organising appointments, recalling patients for follow-up assessments, keeping records of patients’ treatment and progress
working with other health professionals such as dieticians and pharmacists.
NHS nurses are paid on the NHS Agenda for Change. The current pay scales are from April 2021.
Starting pay for a trainee practice nurse working in a team with a senior practice nurse would be Band 5, £26,104 to £32,915 a year. Experienced practice nurses will be on Band 6, £33,072 to £40,736 a year.
Practice nurses in private health care can earn up to £45,000 a year.
You work in a clinic, health centre or a doctors’ surgery.
You work around 37.5 hours a week.
You may work regular hours Monday to Friday, but some health centres have evening or weekend clinics.
You would normally wear a uniform.
Part time work is common.
You must first qualify as a registered nurse (see Nurse - Adult).
When you complete your training you must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Once you have qualified as a registered nurse and within 12 months of starting your first practice nurse job, you can apply for the General Practice Nursing Programme.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
Previous experience in a paid or voluntary role in a health care setting would be an advantage.
You should have a good level of physical fitness. You will undergo health screening.
Most practice nurses and nurse practitioners work for the National Health Service (NHS). You can find NHS job vacancies in Scotland by visiting NHS Scotland Recruitment. You could also work with a nursing agency or with a private general practice. Recent changes to the NHS, for example the reduction in GPs hours, are leading to an expansion of nursing practice and increased employment for nurse practitioners.
able to get on well with people from a wide range of backgrounds
very observant and able to act on your own initiative
a good communicator
able to assess what is best for the patient
willing to take responsibility
able to cope with distressing situations
able to remain calm in stressful situations and support your patient.
You would train on the job working alongside an experienced practice nurse.
Over 15 months you study while you work, which includes 10 mandatory days of taught study plus regular tutorials. You undergo supervision and complete a portfolio.
As well as keeping your skills and knowledge up to date, you must renew your registration with the NMC every three years.
With experience you could become a nurse practitioner or manager, responsible for a team of nurses.
To renew your NMC registration you must keep your skills and knowledge up to date, by undertaking at least 35 hours of relevant study and 450 of practice hours every three years. This is known as Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
You could take further courses in a wide range of specialisms, such as orthopaedics, cancer or coronary care, which would lead to more responsible jobs in hospital.
You could get involved in nurse training.
Training in extra skills, for example, prescribing may be necessary for progress.
The Scottish Government runs the One Year Job Guarantee (OYJG) Scheme for newly qualified nurses and midwives to help improve their chances of finding work as well as developing their skills. The positions are one-year fixed term contracts at 22.5 hours a week, set at grade 5 on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scale. For further details contact NHS Education for Scotland.