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Adult nursing

Adult nursing is a rewarding and challenging career where you have a real chance to make a difference to people's lives. You can expect to learn practical skills and procedures that really benefit patients.

Hear from Baljit Gill, a ward sister and adult nurse at the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

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Core qualities

You will need presence of mind and flexibility to juggle the needs of a number of people at the same time. Communication skills are fundamental to being a successful nurse and you must have the personal skills to set people at ease in pressurised and sometimes difficult circumstances.

You must be caring and compassionate while using a variety of techniques, such counselling, managing and teaching, to improve the quality of patients' lives, sometimes in difficult situations. You must also get tremendous satisfaction of knowing your contribution really counts in helping and supporting the people in your care.

Find out what other skills are needed be a nurse. We also have information on the training needed and the entry requirements.

Diverse conditions

Adult nurses are based in a hospital or in the community and work at the centre of a multi professional team that includes doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, radiographers and healthcare assistants.

They work with adults of all ages with a range of health conditions and be able to juggle numerous priorities. You will have close contact with patients and their families. As part of your training you'll learn how to assess, plan, implement and evaluate care for individual patients. To ensure a consistency of care across the healthcare team, you need to be able to record progress.

Depending on experience and training, adult nurses can hold positions at every level of the NHS career framework.

Are you right for adult nursing?

Adult nursing will suit individuals who wish to work in a busy, multidisciplinary team but can also use initiative where required. There's a lot to learn in a fast changing, demanding environment, so it's essential for you to be observant and able to assess what is best for the patient. Willingness to take responsibility for people's well-being is essential, and a commitment to continuing learning throughout your career is vital.

Try our personality quiz to see if adult nursing suits your personality. You can also hear from real-life adult nurses about their careers.