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Why study adult nursing?

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Are you considering a career as an adult nurse? Here, we’re exploring all the great reasons why you should study adult nursing and why choosing an adult nursing degree at Sunderland will help you get there.

A student nurse working with a manikin on the mock ward

What is the role of an adult nurse?

Adult nursing involves delivering care to a wide range of patients with various health conditions and is one of the most important healthcare roles in the NHS, forming the largest part of the workforce. As an adult nurse, you’ll work as part of a multidisciplinary team – including doctors, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and more – to plan and provide care for adult patients.

Some of the roles and responsibilities of an adult nurse include administering medication, preparing patients for operations (such as taking blood pressure and temperature), writing care plans, observing and recording patients’ conditions, educating patients about their own health, maintaining records, responding quickly to emergencies, and many more.

A career in adult nursing requires you to have a range of different skills such as excellent communication and interpersonal skills (you’ll need to build trust with patients and work well with other healthcare professionals), problem-solving (it’s crucial you make the right decisions around offering the most effective treatments), critical thinking, a high level of organisational skills, emotional resilience, and adaptability. It goes without saying that you also need to be a genuinely compassionate and empathetic person to work in adult nursing.

Four reasons to study adult nursing

1. It's rewarding

From day one, adult nursing allows you to make a real difference to people’s lives, providing a high level of job satisfaction you might not get with other professions. Every day on the job is different, and nursing can be a challenging, but extremely rewarding career. You’ll find that you form close bonds with some of your patients and their families, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling you’ll get when you reach a positive outcome for them.

2. The role is diverse

Of all the nursing roles, adult nurses work with the widest variety of patients, providing treatment to people of all ages from different backgrounds for many conditions, whether that be minor injuries or long-term and acute illnesses.

The settings you could end up working in as an adult nurse are also incredibly diverse. Many graduates of our adult nursing degree go on to work for the NHS and some within private hospitals, but this can involve working on wards, in outpatient units, or within a GP surgery, for example. Many adult nurses also get jobs in the community, such as in patients’ homes.

Other jobs you might consider with an adult nursing degree may include working in hospices, schools, prisons, the armed forces, voluntary organisations, or even cruise ships. Find out more about what you can do with a nursing degree and some of the alternative nursing careers available.

"On the Adult Nursing course, I really enjoy the practical simulations as they help me feel more prepared for practice. The University offers the Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) scheme too, which involves real people with different health conditions who dedicate their time to enhancing our training and developing our understanding from a patient’s perspective. I feel like this helps me to be the best I can be."

Chloe Robinson
BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice

3. There are training and career development opportunities

Adult nursing is a flexible career choice as you’ll have opportunities to specialise in certain areas or progress into more senior roles as you build on your experience. Registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) must also be renewed every three years, so there’ll always be a need for you to continue your professional development.

If you do choose to specialise in a particular area of nursing, this could include intensive care, accident and emergency, cancer treatment, occupational health, or looking after elderly patients.

If you work for the NHS and decide you want to progress, you can work your way up the bands towards senior roles such as nurse practitioner or consultant. With additional postgraduate qualifications, adult nurses have the potential of earning an even higher salary.

View our postgraduate nursing courses and the short courses and CPD we offer at Sunderland.

4. Adult nurses are in high demand

The ongoing UK nursing shortage means employment opportunities will likely be plentiful when you graduate, and 94% of nursing graduates get a job within six months of completing their course.

Becoming an adult nurse offers excellent job prospects, and the starting salary for newly qualified NHS nurses is £28,407, increasing to £34,581 when you reach the top of your band (band 5). If you do choose to progress through each band, senior nurses are in band 6, and the highest paid positions in nursing are in band 8a, where you’ll have the potential of earning between £50,952 and £57,349.

A student nurse using the blood pressure machine

Studying on the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice course

Our undergraduate adult nursing course at Sunderland is the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice degree, which will allow you to graduate and register with the NMC as a qualified adult nurse. The course has been developed in collaboration with regional NHS Trusts and teaching is delivered by practitioners who’ve had first-hand experience in nursing.

You’ll explore a diverse selection of module topics that’ll equip you with essential skills such as leadership and interprofessional learning, the application of evidence-based practice, and building effective relationships with patients and others within the provision of healthcare. During each year of your studying, you’ll complete a practice placement with one of our partner Trusts to improve your knowledge and skills in various clinical settings.

As a trainee adult nurse, you’ll also be able to take advantage of our first-class nursing facilities at the Living Lab and Helen McArdle House. These include mock hospital wards, the immersive suite (where you can practise clinical skills in a simulated environment), and simulation technology (including simulation manikins which can demonstrate realistic physiological behaviour).

We also offer the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing (Blended) course, which may be more suitable for you if you require flexibility to study around work and family commitments.


Have we convinced you that a career in adult nursing could be a great choice? Find out more and apply now by visiting the course page or join us on campus for an Open Day.

Published: 21 March 2024