Nursery nurses care for children from birth to 8 years old. The caretakers are employed throughout the United Kingdom. Typically, as a nurse you will be employed by nurseries, crèches and schools. After you gain the proper education, training and licensing, you might also be self-employed and work in private residences as a nanny.
The duties and responsibilities of a nursery nurse vary depending on the ages of the children being cared for. If you are caring for infants, your primary responsibilities will involve feeding, nurturing and tending to the child's physical well-being. Providing care for older children involves teaching the child basic early education skills, including toileting, reading and writing. You will also be responsible for preparing the child's meals, planning the child's daily nap time, coordinating arts and crafts activities and ensuring that the area is safe and clean. Another key function of a nursery nurse is communicating with parents. You must keep each child's parents apprised of the child's progress, and make the parents aware of any mishaps the child experienced while in your care.
Nursery Nurse Assistant
At the minimum, nursery assistants must have a Council for Awards in Child Care, Health, and Education Level 2 Certificate in child care and education. Nursery assistants must be supervised and cannot work with children independently. The Level 2 certificate training includes about two years or 300 guided hours of academic and hands-on work. Areas covered during the training are child development, safety, health, communication skills and teaching children through play. You can also work as a nursery assistant if you have a City and Guilds CACHE, a Business and Technology Education Council Certificate in Children's Care Learning and Development or a National Vocational Qualification Level 2 in Children's Care Learning and Development certificate. These certifications take approximately two years to complete and include classroom study and hands-on training.
Nursery nurses can work with children unsupervised and must have a minimum of a CACHE Level 3 diploma in child care and education. As a nursery nurse, you can also work with children if you have a BTEC National Diploma in children's care learning and development certificate or a NVQ Level 3 in children's care learning and development. In Scotland, you can be employed as a nursery nurse if you are certified and registered with the Board of Scottish Child Care and Education. The courses are available at many colleges and universities throughout the United Kingdom. Duration for the courses is approximately two years and includes instruction in working with children from birth to 16 years of age. The course requires that you complete nine Group A mandatory units or tutorials and three Group B optional units or tutorials for a total of 12 units.
Management Level Qualifications
After you get your certification to work as a nursery nurse, you can further your career by continuing your education. Additional qualifications and certifications that you can receive are the CACHE Level 3 Certificate of Professional Development in work with children and young people or the BTEC Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma in advanced practice in work with children and families or in early childhood studies. A college degree in early childhood studies may help you land management level employment. Should you desire to manage and supervise other educators, you will benefit from obtaining the NVQ Level 4 in children's care learning and development or from getting the Open University Level 4 Certificate in early years practice.
Other qualifications necessary for nursery nurse assistants and nursery nurses include patience, flexibility and good physical health. The nurses must have positive energy, enjoy working with children, possess solid communication skills and be good team players. Prior experience working as a volunteer with children at a church nursery or vacation Bible school instructor also is helpful.