Nurse - Adult

Registered nurse (adult)

Career outlook for nurse - adult

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would care for adults who are sick, injured or disabled and support them and their families when they are anxious and upset.

You'd work with doctors to give the patients practical medical care. You'd respond sensitively to the person's needs so they feel safe and looked after.

You would:

  • Listen to patients and try to understand their worries
  • Check patients' temperatures
  • Measure patients' blood pressure and breathing rates
  • Help doctors to examine patients
  • Give drugs and injections
  • Clean and dress people's wounds

You would use high-tech medical equipment and carry out procedures like blood transfusions. You might also do routine checks and procedures with healthy people.

You could work in a hospital or in the community at a GP's surgery, health centre or clinic. Most jobs are in the National Health Service (NHS) though you could also work at private hospitals or nursing homes, schools, colleges or for the prison service, the Armed Forces or in industry.

You could specialise in an area such as accident and emergency, cardiac rehabilitation, outpatients, neonatal nursing, and operating theatre work.

You need to be able to help any person without judgement and respect patient confidentiality.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Adult nurse page on the NHSScotland Careers website. See the Learning and development section for information about career structures, progression and rates of pay.

Working conditions


You would usually work 37.5 hours a week, which can include evenings, weekends, night shifts and bank holidays. Many hospitals offer flexible hours or part-time work. Extra hours may also be available.


You could work in a variety of locations including hospital wards, hospices, schools and private hospitals, and in the community visiting patients at home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Supporting
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Researching
  • Empathising
  • Social conscience
  • Developing a plan
  • Making decisions
  • Taking responsibility

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Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


Nursing degree (SCQF 9/10).

To enter a nursing degree (SCQF 9/10) requires a minimum of three Highers at C and Nationals or equivalent education or work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Healthcare Support (SVQ level 2/3).

It is possible to enter a shortened graduate nursing programme with a relevant degree.

An Access to Nursing course may also give entry but check with the establishment that they accept this prior to applying.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Maths (required by many courses)
  • Science subjects (required by many courses)
  • Care

You will also need

Once qualified you will need to:

  • Register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Pass a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Disclosure check
  • Complete a medical examination to ensure you are physically fit

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show you have an understanding of health and wellbeing such as:

  • Health and Social Care (SCQF Level 6)
  • SQA Wellbeing Award (SCQF Level 3-5)