Practice nurse: job description

Practice nurse: job description

Practice nurses work within the community where they plan and provide nursing care, treatment and health education to patients of all ages.
Previous relevant experience prior to training is not essential, but any gained caring for or working with people can be helpful.

What does a practice nurse do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Practice nurses work as part of a team of professional staff that includes doctors, health visitors and therapists.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • patient consultations within surgeries or health centres
  • carrying out physical examinations, investigatory procedures and cervical smear and pregnancy tests
  • diagnosing and treating illnesses and ailments
  • providing advice about contraception and fitting contraceptive devices
  • treating wounds
  • applying and removing dressings
  • providing emergency first aid and treatment
  • giving advice, education and information about health conditions and ailments, stopping smoking and losing weight
  • taking patient samples, swabs and specimens, and checking pulses, temperatures and blood pressures
  • administering immunisations, vaccinations (for example for influenza) and infant injections
  • running well woman and man clinics and clinics for specific ailments such as diabetes and asthma
  • liaising with other health care professionals, practice nurses, GPs and/or hospitals
  • writing records and keeping patients’ notes up-to-date

The job can be tiring but is nevertheless rewarding and highly respected.

Typical employers of practice nurses

  • Health centres
  • Clinics
  • GP surgeries

Vacancies appear in newspapers, health authority job lists and publications such as Nursing Times, Nursing Standard and their respective websites.

Qualifications and training required

Qualification requires a degree in pre-registration nursing which then leads to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Degree course applications should be made through UCAS, or directly to institutions for postgraduate courses.

Pre-registration nursing degrees are offered in adult nursing, paediatric nursing, learning disability nursing and mental health nursing. You will need to choose one of the four branches of nursing you want to train for before applying. There are a few dual branch pre-registration courses leading to registration in two of the specialisms.

Further training and education will be required after qualifying.

Previous relevant experience prior to training is not essential, but any gained caring for/working with people can be helpful.

Key skills for practice nurses

  • Good health and fitness
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Excellent teamwork skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Well organised
  • Ability to take initiative
  • Resilience
  • Stamina