Nurse - Child

nurse (children's) registered nurse (children)

Career outlook for nurse - child

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 look after sick, injured or disabled children and teenagers. You’d help them with practical and medical care. You’d comfort them and their families when they are distressed.

You’d care for children and young people up to the age of 18 with a wide range of conditions. You’d need to gain the trust of the children and parents and reassure them in stressful and upsetting circumstances.

Because children are not always able to fully explain how they are feeling, you would use your skills and knowledge to interpret their behaviour and recognise when their health has deteriorated.

You would:

  • Work with doctors to assess the needs of ill, injured or disabled children
  • Decide what level of nursing care is required
  • Help parents and carers cope with having an ill child in hospital
  • Teach parents or carers how to care for their child at home

You would also provide practical nursing care. For example, you would:

  • Check temperatures
  • Measure blood pressure and breathing rates
  • Help doctors with physical examinations
  • Give drugs and injections
  • Clean and dress wounds
  • Give blood transfusions and drips (intravenous drips)

You’d use hi-tech medical equipment. You’d work closely with other professionals including healthcare assistants, doctors, social workers and hospital play specialists.

With experience, you could go on to specialise in an area such as burns and plastics, child protection, cancer care, neonatal nursing or intensive care.

Most jobs are in the National Health Service (NHS) however there are also roles in the private sector.

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

Working conditions


You would normally 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 special children’s hospital or hospice, on a children’s ward in a general hospital or, after further training, in paediatric intensive care. You could also work in the community, at a GP practice or at a child health clinic.

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


Entry is competitive.

You need a degree in child nursing (SCQF level 9/10).

Dundee, Glasgow Caledonian and Edinburgh Napier Universities offer degree courses in child nursing.

To enter a nursing degree (SCQF level 9/10) requires National 4/5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers at C or equivalent qualifications such as a relevant HNC/HND or Scottish Vocational Qualification in Healthcare Support (SVQ Level 2/3). 

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

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, in particular biology or human biology (required by many courses) 
  • Care

You will also need

Once qualified you will need to:

  • Register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland
  • Complete a medical examination to ensure you are physically fit

You will need to provide evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show understanding of health, wellbeing and care such as:

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