nursing jobs, nursing, community nurse, prison nurse, care home nurse, school nurse

Nursing jobs that aren't hospital based

By Dan Allard

​There are several nursing roles that don't involve working on a ward in a hospital. Here's our quick quide to nursing opportunities in other settings.

Community nurse

As a community or district nurse, you can make a real difference to people's health and wellbeing, while ensuring that they can continue to live independently in their own homes. It's a highly rewarding role, which involves not only providing day-to-day care, but also offering advice and support to help improve the patient's quality of life.

You'll need to be flexible and self-motivated with excellent organisational skills, not to mention having an ability to deal with potentially challenging situations. You'll also need to be a good communicator and be able to inspire trust and confidence from your patients. As a team leader, you may be managing staff nurses and healthcare assistants, so leadership skills are also important.

If you're a registered adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse, and you'd like to switch to community nursing, you'll need to apply to join a district nursing training programme (also known as a specialist practitioner programme). These are available at degree, post-graduate certificate and Master's levels. A level 7 apprenticeship is also available. You can view our available community nurse jobs here.

Care home nurse

Community nursing jobs often involve providing healthcare to care home residents as well as those living in their own homes. However, you can also specialise in care home nursing by moving from the NHS to the private care home sector. It's a challenging job, which often involves working with people who have dementia or serious long-term health conditions. However, it's also rewarding because you're able to provide truly holistic care, not only helping the patient with health issues, but also getting to know them and supporting their emotional, psychological, social, physical and cultural needs.

Most nursing home nurses are registered adult or mental health nurses, but some homes caring for vulnerable adults may recruit specialist learning disability nurses.

School nurse

School nursing jobs are about improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Usually associated with one educational setting or a group of establishments, school nurses work across education and health, providing a link between school, home and the community.

School nursing roles vary greatly. However, typical duties include carrying out health assessments, visiting vulnerable families in their own homes, providing health education advice, delivering immunisation, advising and supporting the school in developing health and wellbeing strategies, and dealing with safeguarding issues.

To apply for a degree-level school nursing training programme, you must be a registered midwife, adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse.

Prison nurse

Nursing jobs in prison settings are essentially similar to working in a GP practice, although they usually involve providing additional support to inmates with mental health, drug and alcohol problems.

It almost goes without saying that a prison can be a challenging environment in which to work. However, the prison nursing role can be extremely rewarding and you'll have opportunities to learn new skills and gain valuable career experience.

Prison nurses are employed directly by the NHS or by private healthcare providers delivering services on behalf of the NHS. You’ll be part of a multi-disciplinary team, which may include GPs, pharmacists, physiotherapists and psychologists. You can view our available prison nursing jobs here.