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Career Ideas and Inspiration

What Nursing roles suit you?

Many members who come through to the RCN Career Service are looking to change or progress within their career.

This page has information about different roles within nursing and healthcare to encourage thoughts, ideas, and inspire you to explore and research further.

surgical nurse viewing a computer screen

Clinical roles

  • Is working closely with patients important to you?
  • Would you like to expand your clinical skills or knowledge?
  • Would you like more scope when caring for patients and/or
  • Are you interested in a particular clinical area or patient group?
A nurse manager holding a folder talking with a doctor and another senior nurse at a nursing station

Leadership roles

  • Are you good at making decisions and planning?
  • Do you often find yourself taking charge or leading in situations?
  • Do you enjoy supporting and motivating colleagues?
  • Do you consider yourself a good role model?
  • Do you mind having less direct contact with patients?
Nurse educator teaching three other healthcare professionals, placing post it notes on a glass screen

Education roles

  • Do you enjoy coaching or mentoring?
  • Do you like the idea of supporting and developing others?
  • Are you passionate about education and learning?
  • Would you mind having less direct contact with patients?
Research nurse working in a lab, looking into a medical telescope

Research & innovation roles

  • Would you like to use knowledge and innovation to transform care?
  • Have you got strong verbal and written communication skills?
  • Would you like to improve patient care or patient experience?
  • Do you have good organisational skills with an eye for detail?
  • Do enjoy working with data and technology?
Female nurse at laptop working from home

Work-life balance

  • Is having a work-life balance a top priority for you?
  • Do you need to put yourself or your family before your career?
  • Is having a job with flexibility or core hours a priority for you?
  • Or do you need to put your mental/physical health first?

Nursing career pathways resource

  • Information on different roles, sectors and pathways
  • Find out what experience, training or skills these roles require
  • Videos, case studies, audios and valuable insight 
  • Resources, links, and useful contacts to help you explore and research further