Nursing is a vocation and most nurses love caring for patients but the pandemic and staffing pressures have left many nurses feeling overwhelmed, undervalued and burned out. In fact, according to a Dec 2021 survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), more than half of nurses are considering quitting their jobs.
If you are a hospital nurse looking for a change of pace but want to continue making a difference for patients, there are several alternative settings you could explore. In this blog we look at four of the most common alternatives that will let you continue to use your skills and experience but in a less pressured environment.
Community Nurses work in a range of settings including GP practices, patients’ homes, residential settings, community hospitals, police custody, schools and more. They work with a wide array of patients, but particularly with those who are vulnerable, elderly, disabled or who have chronic conditions and complex care needs and find it difficult to attend hospital.
As a Community Nurse, you’ll focus on promoting health and treating the patient as a whole, rather than specialising in a specific condition. You’ll have a higher level of medical autonomy than in a hospital, as you’ll need to make immediate medical decisions for your patients, so you must be self-reliant. You’ll often see the same patients again and again, which allows you to build up a good relationship with individual patients.
To become a Community Nurse, you’ll need to be a qualified nurse with NMC registration. You may then need to undertake a short degree course or postgraduate course to qualify as a district nurse, depending on your level of previous experience. You may also need training in areas like wound care, catheterisation, infection control, medication etc.
Practice Nurses work in GP surgeries and focus on primary care. You’ll have patients of all ages and backgrounds and very varied duties dealing with many different health issues, from blood pressure checks, applying dressings, ear syringing, cervical smear tests, to administering injections and vaccinations.
Practice Nurses must be friendly and approachable, so patients are comfortable explaining delicate issues. Like Community Nurses, they often see the same patients regularly and can build up long-term relationships.
To become a Practice Nurse, you’ll first need to be a qualified nurse with NMC registration. You’ll then need to undertake further training and education, such as qualifications in minor illness / injury and prescribing. Any experience in areas such as health promotion or working with patients with long-term conditions is likely to be an advantage.
Care Home Nurse
These Nurses work in care, residential and nursing homes, primarily with elderly or vulnerable people. These homes can be privately owned, run by charities or local councils and the level of support varies from one home to another.
It’s a highly skilled role that requires and in-depth knowledge of long term conditions associated with ageing and you’ll handle many diverse tasks attending to the wellbeing, personal hygiene and nutrition of your patients.
Like community nursing, working in a care home requires a level of autonomous working and decision-making, as you’ll often be the only nurse on shift. You will also need to liaise with many other health and social care professionals, as well as build relationships with family members.
Care home nursing is typically slower paced than working in a hospital setting, giving you chance to build strong relationships with your patients. You’ll need to be patient and friendly and committed to maintaining patient-centred care.
To become a Care Home Nurse, you’ll first need to be a qualified nurse with NMC registration. You’ll then most likely need some specialised training, eg in peg & pump or tracheotomy.
As a Prison Nurse, you could work either directly for the NHS or for a private healthcare provider delivering services on behalf of the NHS. You could work in different settings, including young offender institutions, women-only prisons or maximum security prisons.
Prison Nurses work in a unique and diverse environment, providing similar services to GP nurses but with additional support to prisoners with mental health or substance misuse problems. Many of your patients will be vulnerable, from diverse cultural backgrounds and with complex health needs.
Prison Nurses form part of a wider team of healthcare professionals, including GPs, support workers, dentists, psychiatrists and more.
To become a Prison Nurse, you’ll need to be a qualified nurse with NMC registration. There is no specific qualification required for prison nursing but you will have to undertake training specific to the role. You’ll also need to go through an enhanced prison vetting process. Previous nursing experience, particularly in mental health, accidents and emergencies (A&E) or community care, will also give you an advantage.
MSI covers a wide range of agency nursing jobs in many different settings.
If you’re interested, register with us, or check out our current roles: