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Working as a registered general nurse (RGN) can be a great career for many people. The NHS is the single biggest employer in UK, and as such, RGN jobs can be found across the entire UK. RGN employers continue to report a shortage of qualified candidates, helping to create great opportunities for those wishing to enter this sector.
As a qualified nurse, you will be able to specialise in a variety of different areas. Furthermore, RGN employers and jobs can now be found in a growing number of different sectors, including NHS hospitals, private medical facilities, care homes and even cruise ships. Keep reading to learn more about RGN jobs including expected duties, salaries and career prospects.
RGN jobs will involve a huge variety of duties. No two days are ever likely to be the same and you will often be working in a dynamic, busy environment. Whether you are working in a busy hospital, visiting patients at their own homes or visiting care homes in your area, RGN employers will expect you to provide professional care to patients at all times.
You will likely be working with other healthcare professionals to ensure patients are diagnosed correctly and provided with the correct medical treatment. Working as an RGN can involve many different duties, and often changing daily. However, general duties that RGN employers will expect you to perform, include:
- Initial assessment of patients, including taking health measurements
- Administrating medicine to patients and monitoring their progress
- Helping patients with tasks such as eating, dressing and moving
- Providing information to patients and their families
To become an RGN in the UK, you must first complete a nursing degree at university. To be accepted on the course, you will need 5 good GCSEs, including maths and English, as well as 2-3 good A-levels. Whilst these qualifications are essential to be accepted onto a nursing degree, there are some exceptions for mature students with relevant previous experience, with diplomas and BTECs often accepted instead of A-levels.
In terms of skill sets and character traits that RGN employers look for, these include:
- Natural caring attitude and desire to help others
- Professional attitude and knowledge
- Hard working and determined
- Excellent written and spoken communications
- Ability to stay calm during stressful situations
Working as an RGN can provide great career opportunities. Firstly, the role continues to be in great demand, with the NHS reporting approximately 43,000 nursing vacancies in the UK. The role also has one of the highest employment rates for graduates, with the majority able to walk straight into positions after graduation. You will be able to specialise in a variety of areas, such as working with children or the elderly, which in turn will open further opportunities to develop your career. Promotion routes are well structured, and you will be able to increase your salary as you progress.
The healthcare sector continues to grow in the UK, and as such there is strong demand for qualified nurses. Long-term job security is good, with you likely to be have a lot of freedom in terms of choosing who you work for and where. With training and experience, you will be able to move through the NHS banding scheme which will see your salary increase when you meet certain criteria. Starting salaries for RGN nurses begin around £25,000, with this then rising annually according to your skills and experience. RGN employers in and around London will pay between 5% – 20% more to compensate for the higher cost of living in the region.
Working as an RGN for many is more of a calling than a job. You will be helping patients every day and making a real difference to many people’s lives, providing you with real job satisfaction. You will be working closely with other healthcare professionals in a dynamic and often interesting environment. You will be provided with many opportunities to profess professionally, whilst the role is highly respected in society and long-term job security is excellent.
However, RGN jobs can be very demanding. You will be busy every day, and often on your feet for long periods. Dealing with patients and their families can be stressful, whilst you may also have to work shifts, such as nights and weekends. Other complaints include slow rising salaries and the difficulty of ‘switching off’ from the job when not working.