With increased pressures and a clear strain on resources, more and more nurses are considering moving from the NHS into private nursing jobs. Both the public and private sector have their fair share of challenges, and each offers their own unique benefits. There is a huge number of opportunities to practice nursing in the UK, with a nurse role to suit every unique requirement. Depending on your cultural preferences and career objectives, you’ll be able to find a position that’s right for you. Here, we explore the key differences between NHS and private sector nursing jobs. 


NHS Nursing Jobs:

Despite the NHS being under scrutiny, the public healthcare workforce continues to care for the nation each and every day. Many nurses take a real sense of pride in working for the National Health Service. For some, this in itself drives their decision to work for the NHS. 

The NHS offers a generous benefits package including holiday days, sick pay, pension contribution and maternity leave. While nursing jobs with the NHS are often in high pressure environments, it gives nurses a fantastic opportunity to learn, albeit sometimes on a steep learning curve. NHS nurse jobs offer huge potential for growth, although internal structure and hierarchy can mean that there is a lot of competition for promotions.

Due to the NHS publicly funded, NHS nurses tend to have a higher level of job security than private sector nurses. Caseloads are typically considerably higher in NHS nurse jobs, in comparison to private nursing positions. Working as an NHS nurse, you’ll be busy and in high demand - and this is the kind of environment in which many nurses thrive. 


Private Nursing Jobs:

The private sector is often described as the solution to the issues that NHS nurses face . This certainly isn’t the case - there is no magical cure to overcome many of the challenges that all nurses experience. However, private sector nurses can enjoy a reduced number of caseloads and a more personalised level of care for patients.

The biggest factor tempting NHS nurses into private nurse jobs is the flexibility. Nurses have more control and visibility over their hours and shift types. There are also a variety of locations and opportunities available, so you can find an organisation, sector or region to suit you. Many nurses enjoy the idea of working with patients in long-term care, which is far more common in the private sector. 

It is worth noting that private nurse jobs are outside of the strict governmental regulations that control the NHS, so salaries and benefits are chosen by your employer. There is no set pay scale, other than adherence to the UK minimum wage laws. That being said, many private agency nurse jobs offer higher pay rates than their NHS counterparts. 


In conclusion...

The decision between NHS and private nursing work is ultimately down to the individual. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your career path. If you’re considering a new nursing role either within the NHS or with a private healthcare organisation, get in touch with the Direct Healthcare team today. Our experienced consultants are well positioned to talk to you about our various agency nurse jobs.