What can I do with my nursing degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a Nursing degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers

We encourage you to:

  • Undertake career planning and research
  • Build your networks, meet employees and graduates
  • Gain essential work experience during your course
  • Attend career fairs and events
  • Continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • Get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • Visit the Careers Service for advice

Knowledge and skills

Through evidence-informed theoretical study and a variety of clinical practice opportunities, you will gain the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to succeed in the nursing profession:

  • person- centred communication skills to promote engagement with patients from a range of backgrounds in a sensitive and empathetic way
  • assessment, planning and evaluation skills in a range of clinical contexts
  • ability to apply research-based evidence to professional practice
  • the ability to co-ordinate care for people with complex health needs
  • management, leadership and team working skills within multi-professional teams
  • the ability to reflect on your practice and learn from your experiences.

Career options

Studying Nursing at University of Plymouth will enable you to commence a rewarding career within the Health sector. With an ongoing demand for nurses across the UK, employment prospects for nursing graduates remain very good.

As the healthcare sector moves towards more integrated, home and community-based services, the range of opportunities available for newly qualified nurses has never been greater. Our nursing graduates work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, GP practices, hospices, specialist units and in community teams supporting patients in their own homes. In addition to the NHS, there is a large private healthcare sector. Further opportunities exist in prisons, the armed forces and overseas.

As your career develops, you could take on a specialist role. In acute settings, this could include for example (and depending on your chosen branch of nursing) intensive care, diabetes, elderly care or neonatal nursing among many others. Specialisation is also an option in community settings, such as Health Visitor, District Nurse, School Nurse, or Public Health Nurse. Within the field of mental health nursing, specialisations might include substance misuse, offenders, eating disorders and psychotherapeutic interventions.

Progression into management roles can occur relatively early in your career, while others seek opportunities in nursing education, training and clinical research.

Researching your career options

Nursing can be an incredibly rewarding career where you can make a real difference to people’s lives. At the same time it can be physically demanding and emotionally challenging.  Additionally, given the diversity of career options within the profession, it is important to research and explore these fully so that you can make informed decisions about your future. A key consideration will be which of four main training pathways (adult, child, mental health or learning disability) to take.

The following websites will help you with your decision making.

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what University of Plymouth Nursing graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these roles served as stepping-stones by providing relevant work experience.

  • A&E Staff Nurse
  • Community Mental Health Nurse
  • Community Nurse
  • Critical care staff nurse
  • District Nurse
  • Graduate Cardiac Nurse
  • Intensive Care Staff Nurse
  • Intermediate Care Team Nurse
  • Interventional Radiology Nurse
  • Lecturer in Child Health Nursing
  • Mental Health Community Psychiatrist Nurse
  • Mental Health Staff Nurse
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
  • Nurse in Respiratory Medicine
  • Oncology and Haematology, Bone Marrow Transplant Nurse
  • Opthalmic Staff Nurse
  • Orthopaedic Trauma Nurse
  • Paediatric and Emergency Nurse
  • Personality Disorder Specialist Nurse
  • Practice Nurse in General Practice
  • School Nurse
  • Staff Nurse in Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Staff Nurse in Specialist Low Secure Forensic Mental Health
  • Staff Nurse Surgery Ward and Theatres
  • Theatre Nurse Practitioner
  • Urology Nurse Specialist
  • Vascular Nurse

Employers –

Our graduates are found in most NHS Trusts as well as the private healthcare sector.

Further study

The University offers registered nurses the opportunity to further develop their knowledge and skills through a range of specialist postgraduate programmes:

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction.

The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your particular situation.

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme;

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service; however, they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn alumni’s tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Work experience

It is recommended that applicants to our nursing programmes gain some relevant experience within a care setting before applying. If this is not possible, then employment or voluntary experience in a different setting will provide you with transferable skills that will enhance your application.

All nursing programmes at Plymouth offer clinical placements alongside skills development activities in our clinical skills simulation ward. Some students choose to supplement their clinical skills with part-time work in the healthcare sector or elsewhere.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

In addition to enhancing your nursing skillset, a varied set of work experiences can open up new opportunities and bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

Clubs and societies

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members can develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.  

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to your studies or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.    

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.