- 06 January 2021
- 19 min read
What Band 6 Nurses get paid in 2021 – and how to earn it
This guide looks initially at exactly what Band 6 Nurses will earn this year. We then listen to a Band 6 Nurse on her experience of moving from Band 5 to 6 – and what it takes to become a Band 6 Nurse.
Topics covered in this article
A Nurse's personal story of Band 5 to 6 move
How much do Band 6 Nurses get paid?
We are coming to the end of the NHS Pay Deal that was introduced in 2018.
Band 6 Nurses with up to two years’ experience are currently paid £31,365 a year.
However, given the experience and skills you need to develop to make the transition from Band 5 to Band 6, most Band 6 Nurses will actually earn a little more than this.
Band 6 Nurses with between two and five years’ experience will earn £33, 176 a year, and with more experience the pay can jump again.
To check exactly what you will earn, you can use our handy pay calculator.
How to become a Band 6 Nurse
The most common route for General Nurses to move into a Band 6 role is by becoming a Senior Staff Nurse.
It’s claimed it takes around 18 months on average to move from Band 5 to Band 6 – and for that to be possible, you’ll need to prove you’re capable of taking on more senior duties.
You’ll need to attend and complete all supplementary courses on offer – especially those that cover broad and commonly required areas of knowledge like heart attacks and strokes.
Not all will necessarily be free to attend, but your trust should be able to support with the fees for many of them.
It’s generally said that the faster you complete these courses, the faster you can apply for Band 6 roles.
Find your next Band 6 role today
Start your job search here.
Band 6 Nurse, Chloe, explains how she transitioned from Band 5 to Band 6
1.07 About me
I've been qualified for... How long have I been qualified for? 19 months.
Yeah, just over a year and a half.
So like a year and seven months.
I honestly can't believe it's been that long to be honest with you.
Time flies when you're having fun clearly.
And I transitioned from band five to band six about coming up to four months ago now and I just wanted to have a chat with you guys about my experience of transitioning from a five to a six because I know it's something that a lot of students have in their head.
1.46 How do you know when you are ready to become a Band 6?
The first thing I wanted to talk about is, how do you know when you are ready to be a band six?
Now you will likely meet some nurses, particularly more of kind of your old school nurses that have been qualified a really long time and a lot of those sort of old school nurses will say that you need to be qualified at least two years or at least three years before you become a band six because when they were students and newly qualified nurses, that's how it worked.
Nowadays I think it's quite different and some people transition quite quickly from a five to a six and I'm not going to sit here and say either way is right or wrong, I think every nurse is completely different.
And I also think it depends on what kind of band six position you're applying for.
If it's more of a clinical six, then potentially they are going to expect you to have been qualified longer because it's kind of that clinical experience which you're needing.
However, if it's more of a management based band six, then actually whilst experience plays into it, actually some people are just more management minded and are better set out for those management roles.
So potentially you wouldn't have needed to be qualified as long if you're going into more of a management six if you are just really good at that management side of things than if you're going into a clinical six, if that makes sense.
So my band six role is a management band six role.
I work within inpatient services.
I've spent the last three months on a secondment working as a deputy ward manager.
And then that secondment just recently finished and I've gone back into my previous area and there I'm a team leader.
3.11 My Band 6 interview experience
For me personally, I interviewed for a six I think twice before I got it.
As in, I had two unsuccessful interviews before I got it on my third one.
And to be honest with you, I think that says a lot more about my interview techniques than anything else.
I freak out in interviews, especially when I'm being interviewed by people that know me.
So, when I was applying for newly qualified jobs, I did pretty well in most of those because I was applying for areas that didn't know me.
And if I do really badly in that interview and I didn't get the job, then I would never see those people again.
So I think almost that 'I don't care what happens' attitude makes me do better in interviews.
But because the band six position that I went for was working in the area that I'd worked in since I was qualified, I knew the people interviewing me and I care what they think about me and it just made me completely fall apart in my interviews.
But actually I'm really glad that I did it because A, it showed my place of work that I was really keen to develop and it meant that even though I wasn't successful in those interviews, I was given kind of a little bit of extra responsibility and things to help me work towards becoming a six.
And it helped me understand what they were looking for in the interview process.
So I would say, if you go for a band six position and you don't get it, don't let it knock your confidence.
Treat it as interview experience and develop from it so next time you go for a six, you're more likely to get it.
Just because you weren't successful at interview doesn't necessarily mean that you wouldn't be good for that role.
Some people just interview better than others.
For me personally, I think I would have made a good team leader the very first time I went for the interview, otherwise I wouldn't have gone for it.
I clearly just wasn't very good at putting that across in an interview setting.
And that's okay, everyone has different skills.
Clearly I'm just not that great at being interviewed by people that know me.
In fact, when I got my deputy ward manager role on the secondment for three months, that was the first time I went for a band six position being interviewed by people I didn't know because it was in the same trust as mine but a different area and that was the first band six interview I was successful at.
And that was an axing up role, so shortly after that I then interviewed for a permanent ban six where I now work.
And then I was successful that time.
I think just doing well that time just gave me that confidence boost to do well in my own area, which meant that rather than stepping back down to a five after my secondment ended, I got to obviously stay as a six.
So yeah, I'm rambling a little bit.
All I was going to talk about was whether or not you're ready.
I think it's going to be different for everyone.
I think some people might be ready for a band six a year after qualifying.
I've met some nurses that have been qualified four, five years and I still don't necessarily think they've got the skills required to be a band six.
Some of it's skills-based and experience-based and some of it's just our innate qualities and personal abilities.
So, equally if you are one of those people that's been qualified for quite a long time and just can't seem to make that jump to a six, please don't be disheartened.
If at any point you are unsuccessful for an interview, it's worth asking the interviewer how you can improve for next time because that's how you get better.
Speak to them, see if there's anything they can suggest, any areas of development for you to work on.
And bring it up in supervision.
6:03 Band 6 interview tips
The next thing I wanted to talk about was my band six interviews.
As I said, I've had sort of four now, two which were unsuccessful and two that were successful.
Obviously I can only speak about inpatient mental health band six interviews, but I think the key takeaway from that jump from band five to band six is just thinking that next step further.
So for example, in a band five interview you might have a scenario based question and it will be how you deal with the immediate situation.
So a safeguarding thing for example.
It's all about keeping the person safe and then making sure it's reported to the right people to follow up within the future.
As a band six it's your role to take that one step further.
Thinking about supervision and training needs for the staff involved, debriefing people if it's been a particularly difficult situation, following up with the safeguarding team, making sure you're getting information back from them.
Again, if it was part of a serious incident, you might need to do three-day reviews.
It's just that next step further.
As a band five, you're dealing with the immediate situation.
As a six, you're looking at it from a wider perspective and thinking about how you can make sure it doesn't happen again.
And another really key thing that came through in all my interviews was this idea of managing teams and managing people because people are complicated.
It's in our nature.
And sometimes you're going to work with people that might be on performance management plans because they're not doing things quite as they should.
Some of the management kind of stuff might involve sickness and disciplinary issues, which are not nice things to deal with.
They're really not, but it is an important factor in being a band six because your role is to support the ward manager and sometimes that means having really quite difficult conversations with staff.
Another thing that I always try and bring up in my band six interviews as well, is like that team ethos and that team wellbeing aspect because that's something that management really look at.
They want to think about how can we make sure we've got a positive attitude and a positive ethos within our team?
Because let's be honest, there can at times be a real negative culture in the NHS, a bit of, nurses eat their young and high stress, high burnout.
So try and demonstrate in your interview how you are going to lead your team, how you're going to be a positive role model within your team as that band six that band fives and junior staff can look up to.
What are you going to do to build that really good team working attitude?
8.13 My experience transitioning to a Band 6
And then the final thing I wanted to touch upon in this video is my personal experience of making that transition.
Because let's be honest, it was a bit scary.
Even though I thought I was ready, otherwise, like I said, I wouldn't have applied for it if I didn't think I was ready, there's always that little doubt in the back of your mind.
And I've worked with some incredible band six nurses and all I wanted to do was live up to their standards.
And actually that's one of the best piece of advice that one of our senior management gave me for my interview was to think about the really great qualities that some of our band six nurses have where I work and think about how I'd want to incorporate the best bits of them, but in my own way.
And I just remember thinking, "Oh my God, so and so's just so good at her job.
What if everyone thinks, Oh, well, Chloe's the bad team leader or Chloe's the bad deputy ward manager compared to so and so."
And it's really funny because when I introduce myself to the consultant on the ward that I was on my secondment on, I introduce myself as, "I'm Chloe, I'm one of the nurses."
And my ward manager was in the room at the time and she went, "No, you're not."
She was like, "You're deputy ward manager."
And I was like, "Oh yeah, I am."
And it took me a little while for me to introduce myself in that way because for a good few weeks
I kept introducing myself as a staff nurse and other people kept correcting me.
They're like, "No you're not, Chloe."
But to be honest with you, I had a similar thing when I first qualified to call myself a nurse as opposed to a student nurse was quite a difficult thing for me to do initially.
Again, it took me a few weeks.
I kept correcting myself.
And I think once you get into the swing of things and you start getting positive feedback from the people working with you, then you kind of seem to go, "Right, okay I can do this. I am a good band six. I've got this."
9.50 A learning curve
I feel like I have learned so much in, like I said, the four months that I've been a band six because there's just so much going on that I had no idea as a band five, I just wasn't involved in that side of things and I didn't have to think about the audits and the supervision and all that kind of stuff.
I just didn't think about it.
I did what I was told and I made sure I was doing my job properly.
But now I've got to make sure that all the nurses working with me are doing their job properly too.
I definitely feel like I had a bit of imposter syndrome when I first got my six, particularly being quite young as well.
I often really worry that I'm going to get judged.
As I said, some nurses do believe that you need to have been qualified longer in order to be a band six and I respect their opinion, but I genuinely believe I'm good at my job, otherwise I wouldn't have gone for it.
But it doesn't stop these little kind of niggling thoughts in the back of your mind like, "Oh my God, how have I managed to convince people I can do this because I can't do this?" And again, that really resonates with how I felt as a newly qualified nurse thinking, "How have I managed to convince people to let me qualify as a nurse? I can't do this."
But I could and you can.
After my three month secondment had ended and I went back into my old area, I started on a new ward.
So, it was within the same unit, but on a new ward. It's really hard to explain without explaining where I work, but obviously I don't want to do that for privacy reasons.
Yeah, it was in the same unit but a different ward.
But I didn't know a lot of the staff there previously.
I'd done a few bank shifts there, including dealing with some really challenging instance and the first day I was on this new ward, one of the nurses was like, "Oh my God, I'm so glad it's you that's come over as our team leader."
And actually she's one of the people that I was really worried about because she is someone that's been qualified for quite a long time and I know she went for a band six I think about six months ago and didn't get it.
So I was really worried that she was going to hold that against me.
"Why is this nurse that's been qualified for three years less than me good enough for a band six and I'm not?" And I was so, so worried what she was going to think of me.
But she turned around on my first day and was like, "I'm so glad it's you coming over as our team leader."
And she mentioned one of the really challenging bank shifts I'd had and how she just really loved how I'd handled it and how all the staff spoke really highly of both how I'd handled it, but also how I'd supported them through it.
12.02 I’m glad I made that leap of faith
And now I am so glad I made that leap of faith and I think it would have been so easy for me to let those first two unsuccessful interviews completely knock my confidence.
But if that happens to you, I think you just need to frame it in the mindset of, "This is a learning experience. How can I develop from this? How can I do better?".
But also thinking about the strengths you've already got and how you can play up those strengths.
Because actually that's one of the questions that the people that interviewed me said I always did worst on, which was the questions around why you're good for the job and what you can bring to the role.
Don't sell yourself short
And yeah, the thing that I want you to take away from this video is that it's not as scary as you probably think it's going to be making that jump.