Practice nurse


Career outlook for practice nurse

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 work within a GP practice to give nursing and medical care to people of all ages. The patients you deal with may be very upset or worried, and you would have to be able to reassure them that you would do your best to help them. 

You would:

  • Set up and run clinics for conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions and skin disorders
  • Offer advice on family planning and contraception
  • Take blood and urine samples and other specimens and swabs
  • Perform routine procedures such as ear syringing, applying and removing dressings and treating wounds
  • Offer advice on issues such as blood pressure, weight control and stopping smoking
  • Carry out vaccinations and travel immunisations
  • Give advice to patients on long-term medical and nursing needs

In larger GP surgeries you may work alongside other practice nurses and have the chance to specialise in particular conditions or age groups.

You’d need good knowledge of child protection and public health issues, as well as a solid understanding of infection control procedures.

You can see more about the role on the General practice nurse page on the NHS Career website.


Working conditions


You would generally work 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may need to work occasional evenings or weekends, for example if you are running a health promotion clinic. Part-time hours and job sharing are often available.


You would work in a GP practice. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding and you may work with clients who are distressed and suffering with long-term illness.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Cooperating
  • Supporting
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Observation
  • Empathising
  • Social conscience
  • Attention to detail
  • Taking initiative

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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.

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You need to be a registered nurse, usually within the child or adult branch, and take extra training relating to general practice.

To become a registered nurse you need a degree in nursing (SCQF level 9/10).

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

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
  • Social studies such as psychology

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

Some employers may also look for you to have one or two year's post-qualifying experience.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show understanding of health and wellbeing such as:

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