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woman and child talking to nurse

Children and young people

Children and young people’s nursing is underpinned by the understanding that children and young people have their own and differing needs to adults.

This field of practice believes that the nurse’s primary focus is to assist the child, young person and those caring for them to prevent, promote and support their physical and mental wellbeing. Ensuring a child and young person’s physical and mental health needs remain central to care provided enables children, young people and families to reach their full potential.

Children and young people's nursing encompasses care delivered in a wide range of settings including acute, education, hospice, community and youth justice settings. Children and young people’s nurses have a wide range of career options such as working in general and specialist acute wards, health visiting, school nursing, mental health nursing, neonatal nursing, looked after children and safeguarding nursing, as well as community nursing and specialist nurse roles. There are also non-clinical roles that many children and young people’s Nurses may decide to move into using their vast transferable skills such as commissioning and workforce planning. More information about children and young people’s nursing careers can be found here: Health careers - Children's nurse.

The RCN also has a range of career resources that can be found on our Nursing Careers Resource.

I am a children's nurse

I’m Michelle Eleftheriades and joined the Royal College of Nursing in February 2022 as the Professional Lead for Children and Young People.

Although I didn’t start my journey to becoming a Nurse until later than most as I was focusing on raising my son, my passion for making a difference to the lives of babies, children and young people has always been what drives me. For me, children, young people, and parents hold the potential to change the world. To enable them to do this, they need to be heard, supported, and guided by those that truly understand and care.

Before starting my Nurse training, I worked and volunteered across education, family support and health settings. This has given me a broad breadth and depth of understanding and knowledge about the challenges and complexities of the lives of babies, children, young people, families, and those working tirelessly to support them.
Since qualifying as a Children and Young People’s Nurse I have worked across acute care, emotional health services and at a regional strategic level. Whichever role I have taken on my aim and hope remains the same- to do all I can to make a difference to the lives of babies, children, young people, and families.

To keep this aim and hope alive the focus for me in this role, is to support and enable the Children and Young People’s nursing workforce.

I have spent my first few months in post getting to understand my role, my team, and the wonderful RCN members who go above and beyond, volunteering for the RCN, whilst also working tirelessly to improve the lives of those they care for.

I’ve also spent time exploring the opportunities available within and beyond the RCN that I can harness to further support, enable and develop how the RCN supports the Children and Young People’s Nursing workforce- not just registered Nurses but also those working in nursing support worker roles who we know play a crucial role in supporting the younger generations and their families.

My priorities for the coming months are:

  • supporting and enabling the workforce
  • tackling health inequalities to address the route cause of challenges faced by many
  • the mental health of babies, children, young people, and their families
  • ensuring all our work is considered from an equality, diversity, and inclusion perspective.

To enable progress in these priority areas I will:

  • Listen to, learn from, encourage, and work with RCN members to ensure they feel supported and enabled to continue their crucial work.
  • Spend time and energy ensuring the underlying causes of challenges facing the workforce become visible and better understood.
  • Work with internal teams and colleagues to ensure the challenges facing babies, children, young people, their families, and the workforce supporting them are shared, listened to, and understood.
  • Collaborate with external stakeholders to ensure the nursing voice is heard and nursing expertise are utilised to influence and create change at strategic levels to shape service provision and priorities at a local level.

How to get involved

We are currently in the process of developing a CYP Specialist Interest Group that will help shape and be involved in how the RCN supports those working with babies, children, young people, and their families.

If you are a nurse or nursing support worker and a member of one of the 5 CYP RCN Forums and would like to find out more please email:

We’re keen to hear from those working a different levels, in a wide range of roles/specialities and across the 4 nations in the UK.

We also have vacancies coming up to join the CYP Forum committees which will be advertised in June and July 2022 with positions starting in January 2023.