School of Health Sciences

Caring for Children and their Families

Child branch nurses

Working with children of all ages, with a variety of conditions, brings a unique set of challenges, including the provision of high level support for often very worried families. 

Understanding a child's development 

To be a good children's nurse, you will need to understand how a healthy child develops into adulthood, as well as how to minimise the impact of illness or hospital admission on a child. As you can imagine, not only can health problems have a serious effect on a child's development, but there can also be a lot of stress placed on the patient and their families. It can be very scary, and your care and support right from the start will play a huge part in helping them cope with the situation. 

Nurses as skilled communicators 

While most adults can express the way they feel or what they need, a child may not be able to communicate so easily. Therefore, children's nurses must be skilled communicators, interpreting behaviour and reactions intelligently while being able to spot when a patient's health is taking a turn for the worse. You may also need to teach parents or carers how to provide treatment at home. 

Caring for children in a range of settings 

Technological advancements, the modernisation of the NHS and changes in public expectations mean you will be expected to acquire a variety of skills and the flexibility to care for children with ever more complex needs. As with other fields of modern nursing, care is becoming more community-based, so alongside hospital care, nursing also takes place in daycare centres, child health clinics and patients' homes.

Learning in Practice

The nature and location of children's nursing is constantly changing, and our placement opportunities reflect that. Working in hospital, you could experience:

  • daycare services
  • paediatric medical and surgical wards
  • emergency and urgent care
  • specialist areas such as:
    • renal services
    • oncology services
    • children's intensive care
    • high-dependency units
    • neonatal services

In a community setting, you'll be exposed to different aspects of child care, such as:

  • visiting children in their homes
  • working in a school
  • caring for children with complex needs
  • safeguarding young people

Critically, you'll gain the skills needed to provide often complex care, whilst developing the skills needed to communicate with, and reassure, infants, children, young people and their families.

Find out about our child nursing awards.

Children's Nursing

Related courses

Child nursing student profile




School of Health Sciences

B236, Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA

telephone: +44 (0)115 95 15559