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  • 17 July 2023
  • 10 min read

The Difference Between Band 5,6,7 And 8

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    • Richard Gill
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“Many areas will have a progression route, so if you wanted to move up at the bands, so just ask those in the area that you're working in on how you progress up and what you need to do that…”

This video is a helpful resource for any nurses looking to become familiar with or progress up the banding system. Covering Bands 5 to 8, you will find a comprehensive breakdown of the roles and responsibilities at each level.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to another video. Today's video is going to be talking all about the differences between nursing bands, so nursing Band 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Firstly, a very small disclaimer. The banding of nursing between 5 and 8 varies from place to place sometimes in the roles and responsibilities and things like that. So, each area will have its own job description of some sort for each banding. In this video, I'm just going to be speaking more generic rather than specific places.

Band 5

So, let's start at the beginning: a Band 5 nurse. Usually, Band 5 nurse is the one you'll be going into as a Newly Qualified Nurse. You start off at a Band 5, and then it's up to you whether you want to progress up the banding, so from 5 to 6 to 7 to 8, it just depends on where you want your career to take you.

If you don't want to be a Band 6, 7, or 8 after this whole video discussion, that's okay. It's okay to stay at a Band 5. There's no harm in that because we need Band 5 nurses at the end of the day. And many areas will have a progression route, so if you wanted to move up at the bands, so just ask the area that you're going to be working in or that you are working in on how you progress up and what you need to do that, if that's what you want to do.

So, Band 5 is usually somebody that's newly qualified or you're classed as a Staff Nurse. Either way, you will be caring for patients in most areas. You'll have your own patients. You might delegate as well to healthcare assistants, for example, or admin teams depending on what you're delegating. But you are mainly responsible for your patients and potentially healthcare assistants as well around you.

And if you are a Newly Qualified Nurse, starting as a Band 5, you will be put on different training programs. There might be different webinars that you might go on, different e-learning packages. There might be a whole preceptorship that you have to sort of get signed off to make sure that you're fully competent within that area that you're working as well.

But the more experience you get, the more practice, the more training you do, the more comfortable, the more confident, the more competent you'll be as a Band 5 nurse.

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Band 6

Next up, we have Band 6 nursing. So, what is the difference really between a Band 5 and Band 6? Usually, between all the bands actually, it's responsibility.

So the more you train, the more education you have, the more knowledge, the more skills you get as you develop your Band 5 role, when you go into that Band 6 role, you're taking on a bit more responsibility. So you might be, for example, a Charge Nurse on the ward.

So, you will be in charge of that ward, and you will be delegating to the nurses, the Band 5 nurses, and as well as maybe HCAs (or healthcare assistants) or admin teams. Again, it depends on the roles of what you're delegating and who you're going to be delegating that to. But you've just got that level of responsibility. You might plan the day; you might delegate all the different tasks for the day out to the Band 5 nurses. You might deal with different complaints from families and friends of patients, that sort of thing.

If anything goes a bit wrong on the day, the Band 5s will be looking to you to say, how can we fix this? So, it's just that little bit extra responsibility. Again, it depends on the area that you're working in.

When I was a GP Nurse, I was classed as a Band 6 nurse, and that's because of the level of autonomy that I had, just to give a different example from the wards sort of settings. I was very much independent, on my own. I had all of my patients that I had to self-manage, I had to sort out my own clinics, schedule my own appointments, and things like that.

So, the level of autonomy was increased and the level of knowledge and skills that I needed to do that job because the variety of healthcare conditions and things like that, different age groups of patients, everything was just increased. So that's why I was starting as a Band 6. And again, within GP you might start off as a Band 5, and then once you've done all of your training to do things like the cervical screening, baby immunizations, for example, you might go up the banding again, as a GP Nurse to a Band 6, once you've done all of your training.

As a Band 6 nurse, sometimes there are nurse specialists that are Band 6, or senior nurses they might be classed as well, and they might do the same things as a Band 5, but like I said, they'll have that extra responsibility of maybe being in charge of a ward, for an example, or like in GP, just having that more autonomous role. And that's the main sort of differences between 5 and 6.

And the last difference is pay. So, your pay will increase as well as you go up all of the bands from 5 to 6 to 7 to 8, and these can all be found on the NHS agenda for change. There's a whole list there for you to see the different bands and the different salaries, but I'm not going to go into salaries. It's just to make you aware that that is one of the differences as well.

Many areas will have a progression route, so if you wanted to move up at the bands, so just ask those in the area that you're working in on how you progress up and what you need to do that…

Band 7

Next on the list, we have the Band 7 role. So again, it's all of the Band 5 and 6, but you've got a lot more responsibility as a Band 7.

You will probably be an advanced nurse, specialist of some sort, or specialist in your area wherever you are working, you'll have a lot more knowledge, a lot more skills. Some people expect you to do a master's as well, which a lot of NHS Trust will fund for you as well, but not everyone needs that.

And in some areas, a Band 7 role is more sort of a supervisor, clinical management type of position, similar to a Band 8, but not as much responsibility I want to say. But they will literally be organizing all of the staff, the rotas, they'll be doing a lot of admin as well as the clinical stuff as well on top of that. So, it's that next level of responsibility behind the scenes as well as clinical.

Some Band 7s as well out there will do things like assessment, diagnosing, and prescribing. But obviously to have those set of skills and to be able to do those confidently and competently, you have to have the training and you have to have the courses under your belt to make sure that you can physically do that. And those sorts of courses could be things like the nurse prescribing course, nurse practitioner course, advanced nurse practitioner course. These are usually set at a level 7 master's type of course.

Along with that, you'll be closely working alongside the doctors to help give the best care possible to your patients as a result.

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Band 8

So next step, we're going to go all the way to the top: Band 8. Some people will absolutely never want to be in this position, and some people really want this sort of position, they want that responsibility. They want to make a difference in their teams with that Band 8 position.

Usually, a Band 8 normally could be a Matron or even Chief Nurse. Again, it depends on what area, what specialty and things like that, to what sort of roles and responsibilities a Band 8 does. In the areas that I've worked before, they are the overall manager. So, they will be doing a lot of the rostering, a lot of the admin, a lot of the data, the assessment reports, things like audits.

They will be the person that if something happens on your ward, the Chief Nurse of that NHS Trust, for example, will come down and look at what has gone wrong, where's your order reports, what's happened, where's your data reports, where's your instant reports? Anything like that, we want to see the evidence and proof where you've documented all of this. It'll fall back onto your sort of matron management team, if that makes sense, at the Band 8 level.

That's the difference in responsibility, you are responsible for that whole area, not just a nurse, not just your data and your admin, but you are responsible for the whole team that you are working with. Everybody that's under you, the Band 7s, the Band 6s, the Band 5s, the healthcare assistants, the admin teams: everything is going to fall on your shoulders if it goes really wrong.

Another role that a Band 8 may take on is money side of things. Looking at the finances, looking at where your money's going to go within your team, looking at new equipment and things like that. Stock levels. Doing that overall audit to see what is needed, if any changes need to be made and implemented them. As well as holding meetings for your team, so coming together to discuss different issues, what's going well, what's going wrong, how can we improve? There should be different team meetings as well to discuss that.

And again, it very much depends on the area you work. I can only speak from experience when I've worked in community, GP, when I've worked in sexual health as well, our Band 8 nurses there to see the things that they do, which is very different from a ward. So, I'm fully aware of that.

So, if you want to look for more detailed information in specific areas, I would have a look on the Trust websites as well as the job post itself to look at the roles and responsibilities and the job description of a Band 8.

Comment Below

I hope that's helped a little bit to look at the different bands, the different responsibilities, and the difference between them all. It's just that level of responsibility that goes up and up and up basically through the bands, as well as the pay.

But if you have any more questions, any more comments from where you are and what you've experienced, please comment below and let's talk about this.

But for now, have a great day.

Looking for a new job at your current band or looking to progress? Use our job board to find the next role for you.

You can also check out our pay scale here to see what you could earn as you move up the bands or use out handy pay calculator.

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About the author

I am a Registered Nurse with over 12 years healthcare experience including: elderly care, orthopaedics, sexual health / family planning, qualified GP nurse, transgender healthcare and now in my new role as an assistant lecturer (as of Nov 2022). I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

    • Richard Gill
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