• 28 April 2020
  • 17 min read

What are the different roles available in nursing and which ones can you do?

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse
Play video: "There's an absolute massive world of nursing out there, guys. It is not just hospital-based wards."

General Practice Nurse, Claire Carmichael, looks at some of the various nursing roles available and explains briefly what each one involves.

Topics covered in this article

0.07 Introduction

1.25 Sexual health nursing

1.54 Community Nurse

2.30 Research Nurse

3.16 Care home or hospice nursing

5.00 School Nurse

5.33 Paramedic Nurse

6.10 Forensic nursing

7.24 Teaching

7.53 Working with the Police

8.34 Tissue Viability Nurse

9.45 Lymphedema Nurse

10.39 Ophthalmic Nurse

11.07 Admiral Nurse & Continence Nurse

12.14 Macmillan Nurse

13.14 In summary

0.07 Introduction

My name is Claire Carmichael and I'm a newly qualified General Practice Nurse.

Just wanted to do a little quick vlog all about the different roles of nursing, because I think when people think about nursing, they think about the hospital sector, they think about the wards and that sort of acute sector, the secondary care sort of places.

But actually, there's a whole world of nursing out there that you might not have realised, and it might just give you that push to come into nursing maybe if you realise how amazing it is.

So, I'm going to share it as much as possible of the different roles, and yeah, hopefully you're going to be amazed.

Also just want to put the disclaimer, as always.

This list is literally not limited to, if I was to go into every single role in nursing, I will be here all day.

So, I'm literally just going to narrow it down to a few sort of ones that I can think of and just have a look.

Literally just research, research, research it all.

And speaking of research, Research Nurse, you can be a Research Nurse.

So, yeah, just have a look and see what sort of roles that you can go into.

I won't talk too much about General Practice Nursing because I've already done blogs about General Practice Nursing before.

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Just go and have a look at my channel and see if you can find those videos, and yes, absolutely, you can come into General Practice Nursing as a newly qualified nurse, it's just about persevering to get the job.

1.25 Sexual health nursing

The next role is sexual health I want to talk about, because I was a high HCA in sexual health, and not a lot of people think about sexual health.

I know the umbrella clinics in Birmingham and Solihull at the minute are all recruiting for newly qualified nurses as well, so please have a look into working in sexual health.

I loved my time in sexual health.

I was there for nearly six years, and it was just incredible.

So, yeah, please go and have a look at sexual health and what they sort of do and see if you can apply.

1.54 Community Nurse

This is what people might hear District Nurses.

They are the people that go out into people's homes to care for those that literally can't get out of their homes and they're housebound.

These nurses are amazing.

As some of you might know, I did my community placement as my management placement, and it was just amazing.

I absolutely fell in love with District Nurses and everything that they do.

I didn't realise how much they did.

They do a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot more than I ever thought.

So, yeah, so have a look at that because it is an amazing area to work and we absolutely need Community Nurses right now more than ever.

2.30 Research Nurse

For example, when I worked in sexual health, we had our own research team, and they all did sort of studies on patients and things like that, trying to work out what's the best treatment to treat things like gonorrhoea or bacterial vaginosis or thrush.

We had a bit of research going on on that as well.

So, it's all about finding out what is the best treatment for the patient and what's going to be the best thing to treat that patient with in the future as well.

So, it's all evidence based research and it's just a really, really good area to go into if you're interested in research, and it's a lot more different than sitting down and writing your dissertation.

It's about going out and actually physically doing the research.

So, I think it's an amazing area for a nurse to go into as well, and you're changing the future guidance.

Come on.

3.16 Care home or hospice nursing

I've also talked about care homes before.

I did a little vlog on that, so go back and check out my whole care home blog about what you could do in a care home.

Care home nurses are absolutely amazing.

Also, not only that, but you could go into learning disabilities.

You could go into mental health places as well out in the community, and I think it's just absolutely amazing place to be.

I love anything community-based.

I am definitely a community-based type of nurse out there in the community or primary care sector.

That is me.

That is the sort of person I am.

This about finding out as well what type of nurse you are and what sort of things that you really enjoy doing and go for that.

You could also be a Hospice Nurse, so you could go into hospices caring for those people at a really critical time in their life.

Sometimes it is very much end of life.

Sometimes it is palliative care, so they're not quite end of life, but it's managing those symptoms that they've got of maybe a terminal illness.

For example, such as cancers, and it's about managing their pain and things like that, and really, really, if you truly believe in holistic care, I mean, we all do it anyway, but hospice is the one place that I thought, "Do you know what? This is true holistic care," because they don't just think about a symptom.

They're thinking about their psychological state, they've got meditation rooms, they've got therapy rooms.

It's incredible.

It's a really, really touching, lovely place to be.

People always think of hospices as, "Oh gosh, it's doom and gloom," but actually it's not.

I think personally it's an honour to care for those people in their last stages of life.

I imagine that role would be so, so rewarding.

I can only think of positive things about hospices and the way that they work and the way that you care for the patient.

It's amazing.

5.00 School Nurse

You could be a School Nurse. If you don't already know, we still have School Nurses.

I know. So, you will be that person in school looking after all the children.

But I know that when I did my district nurse placement in our little block of offices where we were sort of based, there was a room for the School Nurses as well.

So they do have an office space from what I know from that.

But also you might just be based in the school and just sort of rock up at the school.

I don't know.

I'm assuming every place is different, but School Nurse would be amazing, especially if you love children, you're going to love that role, I think.

5.33 Paramedic Nurse

Now, here's one that I recently heard, and I was like, "What?! You could be a Paramedic Nurse?".

I think to get there though, you need some A&E kind of experience first, from what I read.

However, that might have changed now, so don't quote me on that.

Please look into it yourself.

But you can be a nurse working with the paramedics out there in ambulances and such and working I think between triage sort of between A&E and paramedics.

I think it's all that sort of stuff.

I'm not 100% sure.

I really haven't researched that much into it, but I just know that role is there if you wanted to go into it.

It sounds amazing, I'm not going to lie.

6.10 Forensic nursing

You could also be a forensics type nurse working for SARC.

This is for people that may have been raped or abused or anything like that, and they've come to you, and you need to do all of the testing for DNA and things like that, kind of in the evidence for one of those really tough sort of situations.

You could be that sort of nurse.

I actually have a couple of friends as well who work in this area, and they love it.

As soon as they changed roles from when we were working together in sexual health over to the SARC clinics and doing that and working alongside the police, oh, they love it.

They said it's one of the best jobs ever.

So, have a look at that as well, because some of you might not even know that role exists, so you can do that role.

As a newly qualified nurse, however, I'm 100% certain, so you might have to just look into that, whether you can do that as a newly qualified nurse or whether you need that extra experience to go into that.

But I don't see, me, personal opinion, don't shoot me down for this, but I don't see the point in training for so long in one area to go into another area that you're going to have to retrain anyway because it's not somewhere you've worked before.

It doesn't make sense to me, but that's what they require sometimes.

So, just do your own research, as always, and look into that.

7.24 Teaching

You could also go into teaching.

You could be a university lecturer.

As some of you might know that are already studying, a lot of your lecturers will be a nurse already of some sort of field of nursing, and they bring that experience to your lectures and they can sort of reflect back to a time that they've had patients and stuff like that.

I think that's a massive, massive help sometimes when you're in a lecture because they understand where you're coming from and what you've been through.

I think that's amazing.

So, that is definitely something to aim for if that's what you would like to do.

7.53 Working with the Police

Also, you can, I said with the SARC clinics and working alongside the police, as a nurse, you can go into a role where you work alongside the police.

They like to have a mental health team member onboard with them for those people that they're going out to that might be having that sort of mental health crisis at that time.

They really need the experts in, someone that's fully trained in that area.

So, that's a really exciting role, I think.

I mean, it's something, if I was a Mental Health Nurse, it's something I'd be thinking about doing because I just think no situation is ever going to be the same.

Every day is different, and it'd be really nice to work alongside the police and see their sort of role and what they do and get involved with them.

8.34 Tissue Viability Nurse

I just love all these roles.

Sorry, guys, I'm going to keep talking.

I love all the roles in nursing.

You could be a Tissue Viability Nurse.

That is someone that assesses the complex wounds, who will be specially trained in wound management, what the best dressings, what the best technique is.

You'll be so up to date with all of the new guidelines and everything like that to be able to help the patient when the nurse doesn't know what to do.

I think that's an amazing role.

It's a role that I once thought about as well, because I really love wounds and stuff like that.

So I thought maybe tissue viability would be good or to be a wound management specialist or something like that.

I don't know.

My goals change every day, and then I found GP. I love it.

Yes, so Tissue Viability Nurse is definitely out there.

You can absolutely be a Tissue Viability Nurse.

You can be a Tissue Viability Nurse in the community as well.

This isn't just a ward thing.

Community teams need Tissue Viability Nurses.

You could also go into longterm management and be one of those nurses.

So, a diabetes specialist, asthma and COPD specialist.

You could be a Cardiovascular Nurse.

The different areas, you could be a Lymphoedema Nurse. Oh my God.

9.45 Lymphedema Nurse

Sorry, guys, I'm going to go off on a tangent now.

A few of you that do watch my vlogs and have seen before, even my Instagram stories, I've posted before where I went to the Blues Ground up in Birmingham and we had a whole lymphedema day, which was amazing.

I loved it so much.

And to see these Lymphedema Nurses at work and teach us was just amazing.

It was so good, and I was so interested in lymphedema, and actually I need to get my notebook out and just refresh my brain on it.

I was amazed by it.

These types of nurses going out assessing patients and they take nurses out as well, they brand five nurses or six nurses, any sort of nurse they will take out and train so that they're doing the appropriate compression and stuff like that on patients.

It's just they're amazing nurses, and it's something you can absolutely do, going out there into the community as well, but also on the wards, if you want to work on the wards.

They're just fantastic.

10.39 Ophthalmic Nurse

I can't say this word. You know I'm bad with terminology, people.

Come on, give me a break.

Something to do with the eyes, like an Ophthalmology Nurse or something like that.

You could be a nurse that specialises in the eyes.

Basically, you can be a nurse for every single part of the body and condition.

There is a nurse for that. It's again, about researching the different specialties and having a look what type of nurse that you would quite like to be.

I'm not an eye nurse, sorry.

11.07 Admiral Nurse & Continence Nurse

You could also go in and be an Admiral Nurse.

An Admiral Nurse specialises in those with dementia.

They go out into the community, they support the patient and they support the families to manage the dementia if they're unable to cope or if they need a bit of relief, things like that.

They're absolutely amazing, and there's not enough of them to cope.

So, this is definitely somewhere that needs more nurses, I think.

Have a look and, yeah, see what you think.

You could be a Continence Nurse, so someone that specialises in continence and managing continence, someone that sort of assesses for different types of pads that patients might wear, different types of catheters and tools and things like that.

They're very much sort of risk assessing as well the patient and what they need and looking at it from a holistic point of view as well, not just throwing a pad at everybody.

It is very, very much, okay, why are they having this?

What's going on?

Let's try and fix that sort of nurse from what I've gathered from working alongside these people out in the community.

But this is an amazing role. Again, it's community-based, but there's also a Continence Nurse on the ward as well.

So, yeah, another amazing role.

12.14 Macmillan Nurse

You could also be a community Macmillan Nurse. Macmillan Nurses are amazing.

Just like the people that work in hospices, they are all cancer based sort of nurses, and they will take care of the patient completely holistically as well.

They're looking at sort of managing pain symptoms, the social aspect, any mental health issues that they may have.

There's a whole load of different things that they do, and they're, again, risk assessing as well.

They also provide information about different funding and social things.

They're absolutely amazing.

I went out for a day with the Macmillan Nurse when I was on my district nursing placement, and I loved it.

It was so nice.

She just went to people's houses, went in and it was so relaxed and lovely.

I assume that it does get really stressful for them as well at some point, but the day that I had with them, it was really, really lovely.

We sat down, it was like just talking to your family member.

It was really, really nice to see.

13.14 In summary

I am going to stop waffling now because I feel like I've spoke so much and this video is going to be hours long if I don't stop at some point.

But what I will do, I will find all of the links and put them below in the detail, so please have a look at the link so you can have a little bit more of a look into each role, what it involves, and how you can get into that sort of role if that's where you want to go.

But there's an absolute massive world of nursing out there, guys. It is not just hospital-based wards.

If you don't want to be that type of nurse, you don't have to be.

Follow your heart, follow your dreams and go for what you want to do.

I know there's still people out there saying you have to work on A&E for so many years or whatever, you have to work in such and such a ward for so many years, whatever.

No, don't listen to it.

Fair enough, the awesome roles that they require some experience, like I said.

However, if you don't want to work somewhere, don't work there.

Go out.

Unless you really, really wanted that job, like if you want to be a Paramedic Nurse, then go and work at A&E, because that's what they might require.

Then do it, but never give up on your dreams and don't think that you have to be stuck in one place if that makes sense.

Go for your dreams.

That's exactly what I did.

People were telling me I couldn't be a GP Nurse.

People were saying to me, "You need ward experience first".

No, I'm a GP Nurse now, and I'm loving life, and I'm so glad that I followed my dreams into a profession that I know I'm going to have a long career with.

So, please follow your dreams, follow your heart, and just be the type of nurse that you want to be.

Big love to everyone.

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. 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.

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. 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.

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