Thinking of becoming a nursery nurse?
Do you have a passion for helping young children grow and flourish, providing exceptional care and introducing them to education? A career as a nursery nurse could be the perfect professional path to take, allowing you to follow your passion and guide the next generation.
By making learning fun through play activities, interactions, and lessons, nursery nurses have a crucial role in children’s lives before they begin school, providing a safe space to explore and grow.
Here, we shed a little light on what nursery nursing entails and how you can get started.
What is a nursery nurse?
First and foremost, a nursery nurse is a fundamental role model in the early year's education sector, caring for children from infancy to seven years old.
It's a job that carries the responsibility of teaching and caring, as nursery nurses support and nurture each child's wellbeing and monitor their health and safety.
Where does a nursery nurse work?
Nursery nurses often work in a nursery, day care centre or preschool. You'll also have the option to work at a private school or as a private nanny, or even an au pair, where you'll travel to different countries and stay with families and help teach their children the fundamental lessons needed for future success.
Other options include working in public services, such as hospitals, schools, charities or family centres.
This is a career path with various options, so you can work in numerous settings over your professional life.
What does the daily life of a nursery nurse look like?
Working with children, whatever the setting, is an incredibly varied and unpredictable job, as each day presents different situations and challenges.
Typically, a nursery nurse will work between 38-40 hours a week, overseeing and maintaining a child-friendly environment whilst organising learning and entertainment activities.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s expected from a nursery nurse role:
Nursery nurse duties:
● Ensuring all children receive suitable meals at lunchtime and are given snacks and drinks throughout the day.
● Assisting children with toilet training and nappy changing, or helping older children use the toilet.
● Ensuring all children take their recommended naps.
● Administering medication to any children that need it.
● Keeping the nursery tidy and organised.
● Planning engaging lessons and activities in line with expected early years development. This could include music, art and crafts, baking, games, sports, literacy, numeracy and more.
● Organising story-time sessions.
● Reporting any issues, including filling out the necessary paperwork and informing your manager and the child's guardian.
● Undertaking relevant administrative tasks.
● Directing nursery assistants.
On top of daily duties, a nursery nurse must observe all children, not just as a matter of safety, but to keep a record of each child to inform their parents or carers of their day. This falls under relevant admin and paperwork tasks expected of professionals working in childcare.
As you can see, a lot is going on in the background. But it's an incredibly worthwhile career choice as you're teaching children basic life skills in hygiene, and manners and setting them up for success when they go to school. A nursery nurse builds the foundations, giving children the opportunity to flourish and live a remarkable life.
What skills do you need to be a nursery nurse?
While you can be taught everything you need to know to become an effective nursery nurse, you will also need to hone many interpersonal skills to do the best job possible. These include:
● Effectively striking a balance between learning and fun.
● Great communication skills.
● Coping well with stressful situations.
● A passion for the education and childcare industry.
● Strong observational skills.
● An approachable, reassuring nature.
● A watchful eye and an awareness of child protection and safeguarding.
● Good fitness levels (you’ll be on your feet for most of the working day).
● A welcoming and accepting outlook (you’ll be working with children from various cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities).
● Fantastic knowledge of hygiene, health and safety.
Employers usually prefer candidates to have childcare experience, whether that's voluntary or paid, such as babysitting or an apprenticeship, although this isn't an essential requirement to become a nursery nurse.
What qualifications do you need to be a nursery nurse?
Each role you apply for will have its own standards and entry requirements. The environment you'll be working in may also have an impact. For example, a nursery nurse role as an au pair will have different responsibilities to someone working in a children's hospital.
With that said, most employers will expect you to hold GCSEs qualifications in English and maths between grades 9-5 (A* to C) or equivalent Level 2 qualifications.
In addition, you'll likely need to complete a Level 3 childcare qualification, which could be either an NVQ, BTEC or NCFE CACHE certificate.
If you don’t hold these qualifications, all is not lost. You can study these courses online, around your job or family obligations. Most of our students pass these courses faster than those who attend colleges within a traditional school setting.
If you’d like to pursue a career as a nursery nurse, here are the qualifications you need to make that first step:
Essential nursery nurse qualifications
|English Language IGCSE|
|English Literature IGCSE|
|Functional Skills Bundle - English and Maths (Levels 1 and 2)|
|Childcare and Education Level 3|
|Diploma for the Early Years Workforce Level 3|
Having a qualification in childcare ensures you have the knowledge to support children's learning and development. It also means you understand what health and safety standards and procedures are involved in the welfare of young children. These courses equip you with the skills needed to teach and prepare children for their following stages of education.
There are additional specialist courses you can take with us that will help you stand out from other candidates and increase your chances of landing your dream nursery nurse role:
Additional specialist nursery nurse qualifications
|Child Psychology Level 3||Preparing to Work in Home Based Childcare Level 3 (perfect for someone looking to be an au pair)|
|Certificate for the Early Years Advanced Practitioner Level 3||Diploma for the Early Years Senior Practitioner Level 3|
Of course, you could plan to take courses like this as part of your yearly professional development, too. Some employers will have funding set aside to assist with this.
What’s the expected salary for a nursery nurse?
Most trainee nursery nurses start on a salary of around £14,000 a year. As you become experienced, you can expect to earn up to £22,000, depending on location and experience.
A career as a nursery nurse often includes the option for overtime which can boost salaries.
Of course, the location and establishment you work in also impact the expected salary. It's generally considered that the best-paid nursery nurses work in London, in private schools, or hold specialist skills. In these situations, it's possible to earn up to £28,000 as a manager.
Of course, once employed, you’ll still be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date by attending training on specific topics and learning about the latest government guidance.
Choosing a career as a nursery nurse involves continual professional development, which means there is the opportunity for career advancement and a salary upgrade.
How much does a nursery nurse earn?
What career progression can a nursery nurse expect?
The great thing about a career as a nursery nurse, aside from the positive impact you’ll have on hundreds of children over your professional career, is the variety of options available for career progression.
For example, you could take on further training and move into higher-level teaching within a school setting. Additional options include working with children with special educational needs (SEN) or gaining qualifications in health and social care and working within the NHS.
The opportunities are seemingly endless, and there are always options available so, if you want to pivot from your initial career plan, that’s a possibility through further learning.
Ready to become a nursery nurse?
Nursery nurses get to work in a fast-paced, creative, and inspiring environment all day, every day.
In addition, being a nursery nurse is personally rewarding because you get to see the fruit of your efforts as you watch young children grow and flourish.
Working in early years childcare also means there are many opportunities for career progression, specialising in different age groups, subjects or special needs; and you can make whatever you want out of your career; the sky really is the limit.
Are you ready to start a career that will change the lives of hundreds of children for the better? Browse through the variety of courses we offer to set you on the path to success. When you learn through us, you'll have a whole team behind you, helping you succeed. Shall we get started?