Auxiliary nurses are unregistered nurses primarily employed in the United Kingdom through the National Health Service. They assist qualified health care professionals in hospitals or care facilities with nursing duties and are sometimes referred to as health assistants. Although the vast majority are employed in the U.K., auxiliary nursing roles also exist in British commonwealth countries such as India and Canada. As of April 2010, the average salary for an auxiliary nurse working in the U.K. is 15,950 British pounds (approximately £15,600) according to the Salary Track website.
Candidates for auxiliary nursing require no formal qualifications. Job placements are typically made on the basis of commitment, compassion, experience and suitability for the role. Applicants usually take basic mathematics and English tests. Auxiliary nurses deal with figures when recording pulse rates and blood pressure levels, and administering basic medication. They also need written skills because they may write reports in the event of workplace accidents.
A National Vocational Qualification in nursing care helps with finding work placements but is not essential. NVQ Level 2 and 3 certification can be undertaken while employed as an auxiliary nurse and may be sponsored by the hospital or health care institution. Auxiliary nurses who complete an NVQ Level 2 are given more responsibility, as stated on the NHS Careers website. Studies can be undertaken via the health institution where the nurse is employed or externally. Once completed, an auxiliary nurse can study for an NVQ Level 3. This meets the minimum entry requirements for most U.K. universities and allows candidates to study to be a fully certified registered nurse.
Entry into auxiliary nursing is difficult because most care homes employ workers with experience. Contact local hospitals and care homes to see if they have any vacancies for entry-level unregistered nursing jobs. List relevant work experience placements or medical training, such as first aid training, charity volunteer work or experience working with children or the elderly.
Candidates can also undertake an Access to Nursing course, which provides basic nursing and care provisions skills and improves their chances of gaining an auxiliary nurse position. The Access to Nursing course is designed for individuals who want to start a career in nursing but don't have the educational requirements to enrol for a full nursing degree. To be accepted on the course, applicants typically need five GCSE passing grades and two 'A' levels at secondary school (the U.K. equivalent of high school), as indicated on the Pro Nurse website. Access to Nursing courses are available in universities and colleges throughout the U.K.