Nursing in social care

Nurses and Nursing Associates are a vital part of the social care workforce and have a varied and challenging role looking after some of the most vulnerable patients. They have distinct expertise helping people, often with complex health needs, to live positively. Using their clinical skills, they seek to understand the needs of their patients and deliver relationship-centred support whether working in a nursing home or within the community.

Depending on the care setting and individual experience, the role of a Registered Nurse may also include some management and operational responsibilities. This could be the supervision of other members of the Nursing Team or leading on specialist areas of care.

Nursing in adult social care commonly focusses on three key areas of need:

  • caring for adults and elderly people who are ill, injured or who have physical disabilities
  • working with people who have learning disabilities to help them become as independent as possible
  • helping people with mental health conditions such as personality disorders, neurosis, phobias, acute anxiety, alcohol dependency, depression and eating disorders

Nursing Associates

The role of the Nursing Associate is still relatively new to the nursing team in England. Similar to a Registered Nurse, the role is regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), but they have different responsibilities. Unlike a care assistant or senior carer, Nursing Associates are able to provide clinical support to patients under the direction of a Registered Nurse.

Read more about the role on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website.

Becoming a Registered Nurse or Nursing Associate

You might like to consider a role in nursing if you:

  • have good English and number skills
  • are an excellent communicator
  • work well in a team
  • are able to problem solve efficiently

To practice as a Nurse or Nursing Associate you’ll need the relevant degree and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

If you are already working in a Nursing Home as a senior care worker, your employer may support you to study a Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship or a Nursing Associate Apprenticeship. This will require you to attend university/college alongside your normal role and you will be given protected time to study and attend placements to gain experience in other health and care settings. Normally, the course fees will be covered by your employer and you will continue to earn your usual salary while you study.

The Registered Nursing Degree Apprenticeship is four years and the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship is two years. Once you have qualified as a Nursing Associate you can complete a further two years of study at any time to become a Registered Nurse. There are also short courses available for people who used to be registered as a nurse or nursing associate but have let their registration lapse and now wish to return to practice.

Search for nursing jobs

Useful links for nursing in social care careers