Nursery nurses provide care for children up to the age of five years. They work primarily with young patients, although some are employed in nurseries looking after children of NHS staff. Nursery assistants will work alongside and usually under the supervision of qualified nursery nurses. They will often work alongside hospital play staff.
The work of nursery nurses typically includes the following:
Nursery assistants will assist nursery nurses in most aspects of
their work (above), ensuring that the children in their care remain
safe, happy and stimulated.
Additional responsibilities for nursery nurses, after further training or experience, include:
Nursery nurses and nursery assistants work in a variety of
settings both in hospitals and in the community.
In hospitals, this will include children's wards, nurseries and outpatients departments.
In community settings, this could include working in nurseries in a health centre (as part of a health visiting team for example) or in a community centre, GP surgery or children's centre, for example.
Nursery assistants may be able to gain employment with few or no academic qualifications, although some GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications) will usually be an advantage.
Nursery nurses usually need to hold a relevant child care qualification such as:
A driving licence may be required for posts that involve
More advanced roles will usually require additional training and/or experience. A supervisor working in a nursery/pre-school will need to hold a full and relevant level 3 NVQ or vocational qualification based on the National Occupational Standards (NOS) such as the NVQ 3 in CCLD. Practitioners wanting to check if their qualification is suitable, can refer to the Department for Education's qualifications finder.
Childcare qualifications are usually offered on a part-time as
well as full-time basis at colleges and universities (depending
upon the level of the qualification being studied).
It may be possible to gain nursery nurse qualifications through an apprenticeship.
NHS employing organisations may provide support to nursery assistants and nursery nurses, working towards relevant qualifications. You will need to check with your employer regarding availability of any funding.
Nursery assistants will usually be on Band 2 of the Agenda for Change pay system, with nursery nurses on Band 3 or 4. For information about actual pay rates, click here.
There are opportunities to progress to more senior roles or
develop expertise in other areas of childcare.
Additional training and/or qualifications will usually be required for managerial posts.
Examples of job titles/roles, include senior nursery practitioner/officer, nursery manager, deputy nursery manager.
Job vacancies for nursery nurses, nursery assistants and other related roles will be advertised on the NHS Jobs website.
When applying for vacancies, it is important to see what qualifications the particular NHS employer requires. These will be contained in the person specification for the vacancy.
For further information about qualifications working within an
early years setting specifically, in a pre-school, nursery or
children's centre, please contact:
Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC)
11 Albion Street
Tel: 0300 123 1033
For further information about qualifications in childcare,
81 Camp Road
Tel: 0845 347 2123