• 02 July 2021
  • 18 min read

The University of Hull’s Advice and Guidance for Newly Registered Nurses (NRNs)

  • Helen Gibson
    Post-Doctoral Research Assistant
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 813
"You’ve done a three year degree, you’re highly skilled, and you're going to be bringing those skills into an environment that needs them. Go in there with confidence. You are a Newly Registered Nurse, and you are a qualified nurse." Hull University Newly Registered Nurse Research Participant

Hull University have put together this guide for Newly Registered Nurses based on extensive research they conducted. It’s essential reading for any student nurse - covering pay, interviews, challenges, support, coping with fears and so much more!

Topics Covered In This Article

How Do I Find And Apply For My First Job As A Newly Registered Nurse (NRN)?

I Don’t Know How To Write My CV - What Should It Look Like?

What About Interviews? What Will They Ask Me?

What Pay Band Will I Start On As A Newly Registered Nurse And What Will I Earn?

Is There Anything I Can Do To Prepare Myself For The Transition To Registered Nurse?

I’m Worried About…

What’s It Really Like Being A Newly Registered Nurse (NRN)?

What Support Will I Need In My First 6 Months As A Newly Registered Nurse?

What Is Preceptorship?

What If I Don’t Like My First Post?

Considering A Career In Nursing?

How Do I Find And Apply For My First Job As A Newly Registered Nurse (NRN)?

Did you know that in the UK, there were 38,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies advertised in England in April 2020?

Furthermore, 94% of Newly Registered Nurses (until recently referred to more commonly as Newly Qualified Nurses) find work within six months of finishing their course.

With this in mind it is likely that you might find yourself spoiled for choice.

Plenty of places advertise jobs - a great place to start your job search is right here on Nurses.co.uk. You can search by location, branch of nursing and there is even a section of jobs suitable for Newly Registered Nurses.

When you start to apply for jobs there are a few things that you might want to think about:

● where have you had a really positive placement experience?

● what clinical area really interests you?

It’s worth speaking to people on your placements such as your mentors and thoroughly researching what the organization is offering you in terms of support and benefits.

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I Don’t Know How To Write My CV - What Should It Look Like?

Your CV is what you use to sell yourself to prospective employers and shows them that you are ideal for the job.

This guide from the University of Hull  brings together some top tips on what should be included.

You might also want to have a look at an example CV – you can find ones here for an...

Adult Nurse 

Child Nurse 

Learning Disability Nurse 

Mental Health Nurse

You could also do a bit of research on the organization that you are applying to by having a look at its website. This way, you can tailor your CV to the organization. There is also a very handy CV creating tool available for free once you Join Nurses.co.uk. It's simple to use - just complete the step-by-step process and the tool will build a lovely looking CV for you that you can store here and download as a PDF.

What About Interviews? What Will They Ask Me?

Interviews can be a nerve wracking experience for many of us however, preparation is key. Have a read of the University of Hull’s Interview Skills for Nurses guide.

The guide explains how to prepare, how to present yourself and what questions YOU should prepare to ask (e.g. “What are my further opportunities within this Trust?”).

There's also a whole raft of sample interview questions so that you can prepare for them.

Here’s a selection of some of the interview questions you could be asked:

● What skills and knowledge have you gained from your course?

● Tell me a little about yourself and what nursing experience you have.

● Why did you decide to become a nurse and why a (children’s etc ) nurse in particular?

● What are your career objectives?

● What appeals to you about this position?

● How do you ensure that you give patient centred care

● What would you need to consider if you were going to discharge a patient?

● What would you do if you and a senior nurse administered some medication and then realised you had made a drug error?

If you would like to see EVEN MORE questions you could be asked you can see the full, exhaustive list here.  That page will also provide some sample questions specific to the branch of nursing you have chosen. e.g. Mental Health Nurses might be asked “What is s5(4) of the Mental Health Act used for?”

What Pay Band Will I Start On As A Newly Registered Nurse And What Will I Earn?

Newly Registered Nurses employed by the NHS usually start on Band 5 with a starting salary of £24,907.

You can read about how NHS pay is structured here and the roles associated with each pay band.

Bear in mind, that there can be a delay between getting ratified results and your registration (NMC PIN number) and this can impact on the pay band you start on – so please check with your prospective employer.

This can vary – you move straight onto a band 5 contract, or there might be a delay of 3-4 weeks when you are on a lower band (pre-registration contract) until your PIN number comes through.

You will need to provide evidence to your employer of your registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Whilst we’re on the subject of money, did you know you have to pay to register with the NMC? The current fee is £120 so you might want to factor this in to your budgeting.

On this site you can also see a full guide to NHS pay scales, bandings and what you can earn as a nurse in the NHS.

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Do you have any questions about becoming a Newly Registered Nurse?

Ask Hull University your questions below and they'll answer them!

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Is There Anything I Can Do To Prepare Myself For The Transition To Registered Nurse?

As you approach the end of your nursing degree you may find yourself wondering how things are going to change when you are first qualified.

You may have lots of questions in particular about the transition from student to NRN.

In this blog from Bill Whitehead he discusses one of the most obvious questions – “What does the transition involve?” Bill’s blog also includes a section on top tips for nursing students when entering the workplace.

The main thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are hundreds of articles here on Nurses.co.uk written by student nurses - and many of them will provide you with information, words of support and advice as you make the transition.

There is also plenty of information out there on the web that has been written by fellow final year nursing students, NRNs and more senior nurses about the transition to NRN.

For instance, have a look at this blog by Debs or this one by Neema  – reading some of these resources might give you an insight into what to expect.

Another big question you may have is “What can I do to prepare myself for the transition?”

Some Newly Registered Nurses who took part in our study had been proactive and done things to help the transition, such as:

● made contact with their new workplace / employer with a view to building a relationship

● a couple were planning to visit to familiarise themselves with their future working environment

● others had done reading relevant to the clinical area that they were going into

● others considered their final placement was adequate preparation

As part of our research project, our team designed a reflective template to be used by final year student nurses to help them think about and record their reflections, thoughts and views about the transition into a NRN role.

You can access the template here and have a go at completing it yourself.

Reflecting on your practice in this way gives you an opportunity to contemplate your next steps and your transition into the workplace and new role as a NRN.

I’m Worried About…

You might be nervous, you might be excited or it might be a combination of both. You are not alone; many of our research participants described mixed feelings towards the transition.

Being worried about certain aspects of the role is not uncommon; our research participants reported being concerned about coping and the increased level of responsibility or fitting in with the team and being in a new environment.

These anxieties are really common and most people feel like this – it’s the start of your long and rewarding career in nursing.

Remember your first job won’t be your last job and use your experience as a learning opportunity.

What’s It Really Like Being A Newly Registered Nurse (NRN)?

In the months before you start your first role as a registered nurse you might find yourself wondering what it’s really like.

You’re likely to have some expectations based on your placement experiences as a student nurse.

Something we found during our research was that Newly Registered Nurses had high expectations of themselves but they also perceived that others, especially colleagues and patients’ families, had high expectations of them.

Just remember that your expectations won’t always match the reality both for the better and the worst.

As part of the STaR project we collated advice from a range of sources including Newly Registered Nurses, clinical manager and preceptors and academics.

View the advice for Newly Registered Nurses here.

Some of the best people to tell you what it’s like being a Newly Registered Nurse are new nurses themselves. Have a read of the stories of five Newly Registered Nurses on the Health Education England Website to get a sense of what being a Newly Registered Nurse is really like.

And of course, there are plenty of stories and videos here too.

Chloe - Mental Health Nurse has created 3 videos on the topic of newly registered nursing:

The Challenges I Faced As A Newly Qualified Nurse

Easing Yourself Into Newly Qualified Life 

Newly Qualified Nursing Experiences

What Support Will I Need In My First 6 Months As A Newly Registered Nurse?

[Media_c591fe2d-d1db-4656-868c-4c2440a706aa]It is likely that you will need some support during the early months of your first post as a Newly Registered Nurse but everyone differs as to how much support they need and the type of support they need.

You might feel like you need quite a lot of support and that’s fine or you might only need a little bit of support which is also fine.

Our research participants told us that emotional support was really important such as the need for reassurance that they weren’t doing anything wrong and feedback about how they could improve.

Our participants also valued peer support because it helped them to recognise that they were not alone in their experiences and that ‘it’s not just you’.

It may be that there is formal support offered within your workplace but did you know that social media is also a great way to build your networks and connect with others.

Twitter in particular has some useful groups for Newly Registered Nurses for example: @NQ_Forum Newly Qualified Forum; @WeNurses and the 'We Communities'; @RCNNRN RCN Newly Registered Nurses.

What Is Preceptorship?

As a NRN one of your biggest worries may be that you will make a mistake.  Your preceptor and colleagues are there to support your development and ensure that you are practicing safely and working confidently within the limits of your competence.

I was talking to one group of students and they were telling me what they liked about their preceptorship and they don’t like it when it is just like competencies, they think that’s important…they do but they said it is just really lovely to have someone to talk to in a safe space and to encourage and support them through that time…that is what they really value….someone who cares about you and takes an interest in you (STaR Research Participant, HEI Leader)

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) defines a preceptorship as 'a period to guide and support all newly qualified practitioners to make the transition from student to develop their practice further'. This preceptorship framework should answer many of your preceptorship questions and includes a role descriptor for a preceptor; a charter between the preceptor and the preceptee and meeting templates that you can use to record formal review meetings.

Closer to home, here on Nurses.co.uk Chloe explains what preceptorship is and how it helps Newly Registered Nurses in one of her videos.

Plus, Adult Nurse, Ruth Underdown, outlines what you should expect from preceptorship.

What If I Don’t Like My First Post?

Your first registered nurse job is unlikely to be your last and it’s not uncommon for Newly Registered Nurses to leave their first post within 12 months of starting.

In her blog ‘Should I stay or go?’  Dr Jane Wray discusses the varied reasons that Newly Registered Nurses leave their job within the first twelve months.

If you’re thinking of moving on from your first post you might want to have a look at all of the articles on this site  (Nurses.co.uk). Most of them are by the nurses who do the job and will help you to understand the wide variety of opportunities within health and care, inspire you, and also shine a light on roles you may have never heard of. There are 1,000s of articles including advice on a whole range of clinical roles; working in the private sector, changing nursing fields, leadership, career progression and pay. There’s also a courses section where you can build new skills.

Considering A Career In Nursing?

"I think what pushed me to make the decision really towards nursing rather than any other profession was the way that I saw my nan cared for when she had cancer." STaR Research Participant, NRN

For those of you reading this article who haven’t yet started your nursing education we thought we’d end on some information that will help inspire you to become a nurse and get you started.

Are you thinking about a career in nursing?

Wondering if it’s for you?

Or if people like you go into Nursing?

People we interviewed for our study came from a wide range of ages and backgrounds when they began nursing.

The reasons they went into nursing varied.

Some people wanted to be a nurse from a young age; some people had worked in care in non-nursing roles for many years for example, in a care home; some talked about specific experiences that had led them to embark on a career in nursing such as seeing a relative cared for and wanting to ‘do more’ or ‘wanting to make a difference’.

For other people, the decision to become a nurse was pragmatic, with changes in circumstances such as redundancy from a previous occupation or embarking on a new direction after their children had grown and flown.

Nurses.co.uk has hundreds of articles and videos by nurses on what inspired them to become a nurse. For the nuts and bolts information you will find our Complete Guide To Becoming A Nurse simple to follow. This guide will take you through your study options and the qualifications you will need to get onto a nursing course. There’s also a really useful course finder article that has everything in one place: listing all the Universities where you can study nursing, showing which branch of nursing is offered, and includes a list of tips for anyone considering studying to become a nurse.

We know that not everyone goes into nursing straight from school and college at 18. Sometimes people have other careers before they decide to go into nursing.

The people who took part in our study who decided to enter nursing ‘later in life’ had worked in many previous occupations including in a supermarket, in the brewery sector, in telesales and as a chef.

If this sounds like you and you’re thinking of changing your career to become a nurse you might want to read the blog by Ruth.

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Do you have any questions about becoming a Newly Registered Nurse?

Ask Hull University your questions below and they'll answer them!

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About the author

  • Helen Gibson
    Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

I’m a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull. I joined the University as a Research Assistant in 2005 after completing a Master’s Degree in Social Research. I left to undertake my PhD in 2008 and returned as a researcher in 2014. I have extensive research experience on projects linked to health and social care.

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  • Helen Gibson
    Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

About the author

  • Helen Gibson
    Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

I’m a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull. I joined the University as a Research Assistant in 2005 after completing a Master’s Degree in Social Research. I left to undertake my PhD in 2008 and returned as a researcher in 2014. I have extensive research experience on projects linked to health and social care.

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