In the UK healthcare system, the role of a nurse is to provide high-quality care to patients and support the delivery of safe, effective, and efficient healthcare services.
As a new nurse, it’s common to feel anxious even if you are confident about your skills and previous work experience. Reading through this list of advice should give you a headstart and proactively address them as you start in your new job.
Here are important things you need to do not only to fulfill the requirements of your nursing job in the UK but also to help you set a roadmap for your career development.
Register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Check your eligibility: Make sure you meet the NMC’s requirements for registration, such as having a recognized nursing or midwifery qualification. Reading the NMC’s About Us page helps you better understand the NMC’s role and how it can help you in the future.
Create an NMC online account: This will allow you to complete and submit your registration application online. Visit the NMC’s website and register as a new nursing professional.
Complete the online application: You will need to provide personal information, employment history, and details of any qualifications or professional registration you hold.
Pay the fee: The NMC charges a fee for registration, which you can pay online. Check with your employer if this can be reimbursed.
Submit supporting documents: You will need to provide proof of your identity, qualifications, and any other relevant information requested by the NMC.
Wait for a decision: The NMC will assess your application and let you know if you have been successful.
Obtain professional indemnity insurance
Professional indemnity insurance protects you against claims for loss or damage made by patients or third parties as a result of the impact of negligent services you provided or negligent advice you offered.
Determine your insurance requirements: Consider the type and scope of your work, and any regulations or professional bodies that require you to have PII. Here’s NMC’s guide to professional indemnity insurance as a nurse in the UK.
Shop around: Compare different insurance providers and their policies, including the level of coverage, policy exclusions, and premium costs.
Choose a provider: Select a provider that meets your insurance requirements and budget, and that you trust to provide good customer service.
Apply for insurance: Complete the application process with your chosen provider, providing details of your work, qualifications, and any previous claims.
Pay the premium: Pay the required premium, either in one lump sum or in installments.
Review and renew: Regularly review your PII coverage and renew your policy when it expires to ensure you continue to have the protection you need.
Attend mandatory training and orientation sessions
Your employer will orient you with the required training for your line of work. There are a few places you can look for help in finding free nursing training in the UK:
National Health Service (NHS): The NHS offers a variety of nursing training programs and apprenticeships, many of which are free for eligible individuals. Check the NHS Study and Training page for available opportunities.
Universities: Some universities in the UK may offer free nursing training as part of their education programs. Check the websites of universities near you for more information.
Professional organizations: Professional organizations, such as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the NMC, may offer free training and development opportunities for their members.
Charitable organizations: Charitable organizations, such as the Florence Nightingale Foundation, may offer scholarships and bursaries to support nursing education.
Local councils: Local councils may offer free training programs or funding for education, including nursing training. Check the website of your local council for more information.
Review and understand the nursing policies and protocols of the specific healthcare facility
Health and safety: Policies related to the maintenance and upkeep of the facility, fire safety, and emergency procedures.
Clinical care: Policies related to the provision of nursing care, including medication management, wound care, and infection control.
Residents’ rights: Policies related to the rights and dignity of residents and patients, such as the right to privacy, informed consent, and the provision of adequate nutrition and hydration.
Care planning and assessment: Policies related to the ongoing assessment and care planning process, including the involvement of residents and their families in the care plan.
Staffing and supervision: Policies related to the recruitment, training, and supervision of staff, and the provision of ongoing support and development opportunities.
Complaints and grievances: Policies related to the handling of complaints and grievances from residents, families, and staff.
Data protection and confidentiality: Policies related to the protection and confidential handling of residents’ personal and medical information.
Familiarize yourself with the electronic medical record system used at the facility
In the UK, several electronic medical records (EMR) systems are commonly used in hospitals, including:
- Cerner Millennium: A comprehensive EMR system that supports clinical, administrative, and financial functions.
- Lorenzo: An EMR system developed by CSC, designed specifically for the UK’s National Health Service.
- TPP SystmOne: A widely used EMR system that provides integrated patient care, including clinical and administrative functions.
- iSoft Clinical Solution: An EMR system that supports clinical, administrative, and financial functions for both acute and community healthcare providers.
- Epic Systems: A comprehensive EMR system used by several large hospitals in the UK, supporting clinical, administrative, and financial functions.
- Advanced Informatics: A provider of EMR systems for NHS trusts and private healthcare providers, offering a range of solutions including clinical, administrative, and financial functions.
Formal training will be provided, but prior knowledge and a proactive approach give you a step ahead in your learning curve.
Review the patients’ care plans and medications
In UK hospitals, patients’ care plans and medications are managed using a comprehensive approach that involves a number of different healthcare professionals and systems. Some of the key components include:
Assessment: A comprehensive assessment of the patient’s health and needs, carried out by a healthcare professional such as a nurse or doctor, which forms the basis for the patient’s care plan.
Care plan: A written document that outlines the patient’s healthcare needs, goals, and treatment plan, which is reviewed and updated regularly as needed.
Medication management: A process that involves prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring medications to ensure they are safe and effective for the patient.
Electronic medication administration records (eMARs): An electronic system that tracks and records medications given to patients, including dosages, frequency, and administration routes.
Pharmacy involvement: A team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who review and monitor medications to ensure they are safe and appropriate for the patient, and provide advice and support to other healthcare professionals.
Monitoring and review: Regular monitoring of the patient’s progress and review of the care plan and medications to ensure they remain effective and appropriate for the patient’s needs.
This approach to patient care aims to provide safe and effective care that is tailored to the individual needs of each patient and involves close collaboration between healthcare professionals and the patient and their family.
Introduce yourself to your colleagues, including fellow nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals
It may sound daunting to be a newcomer in a group of multinational colleagues, but this is a crucial first step in introducing yourself to the people you will be working with. A good rapport comes with a pleasant introduction and making a good first impression.
Introduce yourself by name and position: Start by introducing yourself by your name and professional role, such as “Hello, my name is [Name] and I am a [Position].”
Explain your role and responsibilities: Provide a brief overview of your role and responsibilities in the healthcare team, and how you fit into the larger healthcare system.
Express a desire to work together: Indicate your willingness to work together with the healthcare team to provide the best possible care for the patient.
Show respect for others’ expertise: Acknowledge the expertise and experience of the other healthcare professionals, and express your desire to learn from them and work together as a team.
Offer to provide support: Offer to provide any support or assistance that may be needed, and ask if there is anything specific you can do to help.
For example, you might say: “Hello, my name is [Name] and I am a [Position]. I’m here to support operating room surgeries and provide the best possible care for our patients. I’m looking forward to working with all of you and learning from your expertise. If there is anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
It’s important to approach introductions in a professional, respectful, and friendly manner, as building positive working relationships is essential for providing effective and efficient care in the healthcare setting.
Learn about the different roles and responsibilities of team members
Learning about the different roles and responsibilities of team members can be done in a culturally sensitive and non-annoying manner by following these steps:
Ask questions: Ask team members about their roles and responsibilities, and what they do on a day-to-day basis. Be respectful and listen attentively to their responses.
Observe: Observe the different healthcare professionals in action, and take note of the tasks they perform and how they interact with patients and other team members.
Read up: Read about the different healthcare roles and responsibilities, including job descriptions and guidelines for best practice, to gain a deeper understanding of each role.
Attend team meetings: Attend team meetings, where team members can discuss their roles and responsibilities and how they interact with each other.
Show appreciation: Show appreciation for the work that team members do, and acknowledge the challenges they face in their roles.
Offer help: If you can, offer assistance to fellow nurses who may need help.
It’s important to approach the learning process in a respectful and non-intrusive manner, avoiding actions that may be seen as intrusive, annoying, or insensitive. This may involve avoiding interrupting team members when they are busy, or asking inappropriate or personal questions.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware of and sensitive to cultural differences and norms and to approach all interactions with respect and professionalism.
Communicate effectively with patients and their families
As a nurse, effective communication with patients and their families is crucial for providing safe, high-quality care. Here are some tips for effective communication in a nursing setting:
Listen actively: Pay close attention to what the patient and their family are saying, and try to understand their perspective. Ask questions to clarify information and demonstrate your interest in what they have to say.
Be clear and concise: Use simple, clear language to explain medical information and procedures, avoiding medical jargon and technical terms. Some people may find the Filipino accent of the English language challenging to understand so repeat the information if needed and check that the patient and their family understand.
Respect cultural and linguistic differences: Be aware of cultural and linguistic differences and respect the patient’s preferred method of communication. Provide interpretation or translation services if needed.
Empathize: Show empathy and compassion towards the patient and their family, and acknowledge their feelings and concerns.
Involve the patient and their family: Encourage the patient and their family to be involved in decision-making and planning for their care, and provide them with information and support to help them make informed choices.
Follow up: Follow up with the patient and their family after discussions and appointments to ensure that they understand the information you have provided and have any questions answered.
Document communication: Document all communication with the patient and their family in the patient’s medical record, including what was discussed, any decisions made, and any follow-up actions required.
By adopting these effective communication strategies, you can help build trust and rapport with patients and their families, and provide safe, high-quality care that is tailored to their individual needs and preferences.
Learn about the opportunities for continuing education and professional development
There are several opportunities for continuing education and professional development for nurses in the UK, including:
Professional associations: Many professional associations, such as the Royal College of Nursing and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, offer a range of continuing education and professional development programs, including courses, conferences, and workshops.
Universities and colleges: Many universities and colleges in the UK offer postgraduate programs in nursing and healthcare, including master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as continuing education courses.
Online learning: There are numerous online learning platforms and websites offering continuing education and professional development programs for nurses, including e-learning courses, webinars, and online workshops.
Employer-sponsored programs: Some employers may offer in-house training and development programs for their staff, as well as opportunities to attend courses, conferences, and workshops relevant to their field.
Conferences and workshops: Attending conferences and workshops is a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in nursing and healthcare, as well as network with other professionals in the field.
Clinical placements: Participating in clinical placements and shadowing other healthcare professionals can also provide opportunities for learning and professional development.
It’s important for nurses to engage in continuing education and professional development in order to maintain their competency, improve their clinical skills, and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in nursing and healthcare. By taking advantage of the various opportunities available, nurses can continue to grow and advance in their careers.
Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in nursing practice and healthcare
Staying updated with the latest trends and developments in nursing and healthcare in the UK requires a proactive approach, as well as a willingness to continuously learn and grow.
Online resources: There are numerous online resources available that provide information and updates on the latest trends in nursing and healthcare, including websites, blogs, and social media groups.
Research and journals: Reading research articles and healthcare journals can keep you informed about the latest trends, developments, and best practices in nursing and healthcare.
Professional development: Engaging in professional development activities, such as continuing education courses, online learning, and workshops, can help keep you up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in nursing and healthcare.
By staying informed and engaged with the latest developments in nursing and healthcare, you can continue to grow and advance in your career, and provide high-quality care to your patients.
Emphasize the importance of being organized and prepared in order to provide the best care possible to patients.
As a new nurse in the UK, there will be a period of adjustment to the new environment and lifestyle outside of work, as well as adjustment to the ways of working, dealing with patient needs, and cooperation with fellow workers.
As a new nurse in the UK, you also would like to plan ahead for your career, so spending time on professional development will bring rewards down the road whether as a long-term healthcare professional in the country or elsewhere. The last thing you’d like to experience is regret over not planning ahead for opportunities when you were once a new nurse in the UK.