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Careers in nursing

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In this article, we explore career paths you can pursue as a nurse or midwife, our specialist nursing courses, and potential nursing salaries.

Student nurses wearing masks and gloves, attending to a patient who is lying in a bed in a hospital ward

How to become a nurse

To become a Registered Nurse, you must successfully complete a degree-level nursing course approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Entry routes to becoming a Registered Nurse are flexible. You could directly apply to university, apply for a nursing degree apprenticeship or train as a nursing associate, before going on to become a Registered Nurse later.

There are a range of nursing and midwifery fields you could work in. The University of Sunderland offers the following specialist nursing courses:

The specialist courses above have an intake in April, so it's not too late to apply and start your journey to becoming a Registered Nurse.

We also offer the MNurse (Adult) postgraduate course, this is specifically designed for those who already hold a health related degree and are looking to pursue a career in nursing. 

There is so much to learn and nursing is constantly changing for the better. This course challenges you and gives you the skills that are required to become a registered professional. There are lots of exciting learning opportunities and resources available to benefit your learning, for example practical lessons in the mock hospital wards using the simulation manikins, and the placements cover different specialities."

Kieran Murray
BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice

Adult Nursing

Adult nurses make up the largest part of the NHS workforce. In the future, more adult nursing jobs will be based in the community rather than hospitals, as more care is delivered outside of acute settings, including hospital wards, outpatient units or specialist departments, the community or nursing homes and the prison service.

Adult nurses are a key part of the multidisciplinary teams that look after patients. You will be at the centre of teams that can include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, radiographers and healthcare assistants. You'll also work closely with patients' families and carers.

Mental Health Nursing

One in four people will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives. Mental health nurses are the largest professional group providing care in a variety of settings. Mental health nurses work in a range of complex and rewarding roles such as crisis teams, street triage, community mental health teams, psychological therapies and specialist treatment teams.

Children's and Young People's Nursing

Children's nurses are responsive to the needs of children, young people and their families and deliver care within a variety of settings, including hospitals, health centres, children’s centres, GP practices and the family home.

They are key members of the multi-disciplinary team involved in the delivery of care to children and young people with healthcare needs. Every day they make a difference to the lives of children and young people in need of healthcare.

Midwifery Practice

Midwives are responsible for ensuring that women/persons have a safe and life-enhancing experience throughout pregnancy, labour and the first few weeks after birth. As a midwife, you'll also be responsible for making sure newborn infants and families have the best possible start in life. 


Upon qualifying, nurses start on NHS Band 5 and have the opportunity for career progression to more advanced roles such as an Approved Clinician which can attract Band 8 salaries according to the NHS Agenda for Change Pay Rates. At the top of the scale are staff in Band 9, which can be achieved through further study and experience. Team managers and department heads are often placed in this exclusive band.

Read more about nursing at the University of Sunderland and find the right nursing course for you.

Published: 24 March 2023