​Outlining the NHS Nurse Grades and Bands

By Josh Jezard

​Outlining the NHS Nurse Grades and Bands

According to Full Fact there are roughly 1.5 million people employed by the NHS across the UK. That’s a hell a lot of people all working for the same organisation. With 159,000 of those being temporary staff such as agency nurses, understanding the NHS nurse grades and who is capable and responsible for what is key.

That’s why some bright spark had the idea of introducing the Agenda for Change in 2004. This was designed to evaluate the job rather than the person in it, and to ensure equity between similar posts in different areas.

Simply put, the NHS staff structure operates on a banding system. Each role within the NHS will be allocated to a band within the structure. The band will determine the level of pay for a job role, with a range of salaries within each band. And there are a number of nursing grades in the NHS. Pretty simple stuff, right?

So what are the key specifications and responsibilities for each NHS nurse grades?

​• Band 1 - Nursery Assistant

These roles require routine procedures that are gained through simple induction or training. These roles are unskilled and require limited qualifications.

Examples of roles at band 1 - domestic support worker, housekeeping assistant, driver and nursery assistant.

• Band 2 - Healthcare Assistant

Roles in this band would require a period of induction. The employee would be required to understand a range of procedures, that although are routine, may be performed outside of their immediate work area.

Examples of roles at band 2 - domestic support worker, domestic team leader, security officer and healthcare assistant.

• Band 3 - Emergency Care Assistant

Employees would be expected to use their knowledge to apply to new situations within a range of work procedures. Roles would require a level of formal training or relevant experience.

Examples of roles at band 3- emergency care assistant, clinical coding officer, estates officer and occupational therapy worker.

• Band 4 - Theatre Support Worker

In more detail than band 3, these positions would require further application of theory to a job role. Band 4 roles would require a candidate to have relevant experience or complete detailed training programme.

Examples of roles at band 4 - assistant practitioner, audio visual technician, pharmacy technician, dental nurse and theatre support worker.

• Band 5 – Newly Qualified Nurse

Employees would be expected to understand a wide range of procedures and practices. Candidates likely have expertise within a specialist area, which will have been gained through qualifications or relevant experience.

Examples of roles at band 5 (includes many newly qualified clinical professionals) - operating department practitioner (ODP), learning disability nurse and practice manager.

• Band 6 – Nursing specialist or Senior Nurse

Specialist roles gained through study or extensive practical experience.

Examples of roles at band 6 - school nurse, experienced paramedic, clinical psychology trainee and biomedical scientist.

• Band 7 – Advanced Nurse / Nurse Practitioner

Highly developed specialist knowledge across the range situations. Employees will have gained skills through extensive study and relevant practical experience.

Examples of roles at band 7 - communications manager, high intensity therapist and advanced speech and language therapist.

• Band 8 – Modern Matron or Chief Nurse

Now we're at the top end of the NHS nurse grades. For nurses, this banding reflects heads of teams. You'll still carry out many nursing duties, in addition to looking after a large team of staff. 

(a)Advanced knowledge through study and practical experience over a range of work procedures and practices

Examples of roles at band 8a - consultant prosthetist/orthotist, project and programme management, modern matron (nursing) and nurse consultant (mental health nursing).

(b) Specialist knowledge covering more than one discipline acquired through extensive experience.

Examples of roles at band 8b - strategic management, head of education and training, clinical physiology service manager and head orthoptist.

Whether you’re a Healthcare Assistant, Registered General Nurse or an Emergency Nurse Practitioner if you’re interested in working through the UK’s premium nursing agency as an agency nurse register today.

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