How to become a Nursery Nurse

Find out everything there is to know about developing a career as a nursery nurse, from the skills and qualities to the qualifications you'll need.

What is a nursery nurse?

Nursery nurses care for children up to seven years old. They help with many aspects of their daily lives, through social, emotional, educational and practical interaction, nurturing and guidance. This is done from a variety of settings, but most often in preschools and nurseries.

The majority of nursery nurses work with healthy children, caring for them on a day-to-day basis and catering to their varying abilities. However, it is also possible to specialise within the role and work with children who are disabled, encounter learning difficulties or mental health issues.

What are the responsibilities of a nursery nurse?

Your day will be varied and often unpredictable when working with children, which makes the job role very attractive to some people. No two days will be the same! The hours can be full-time or part-time, depending on the requirements of your employer. Some of the tasks you can expect would be:

  • Planning lessons that engage the children in a different, fun and educational activity, whilst working to the Early Years Foundation Stage standards on child learning
  • Supervising lessons that may include arts, crafts, music, cooking, educational games or sports
  • Assisting children to develop their numeracy and literacy skills
  • Leading story-time sessions, where you read to children on a daily basis
  • Taking children on local outings
  • Watching children through the day, ensuring their safety, cleanliness and manners
  • Entering any issues into reports and communicating them to your manager and the child’s parents or carers
  • Maintaining a clean, tidy and organised nursery
  • Ensuring all children are fed and hydrated throughout the day
  • Assisting with any toilet training
  • Assisting or directing your nursery assistant(s)

These are some basic responsibilities you can expect to be included in a job as a nursery nurse, however the job specification for the role you’re applying for will detail the exact tasks.

How to become a nursery nurse

At least some basic form of training and experience is needed to become a nursery nurse The more experience you have the better, as you will have more exposure to the setting and work involved in the role. It’s always a good idea to try and secure a work placement, but if you struggle you could also offer to work voluntarily to gain that invaluable experience to put on your CV.

The more experience you have working within a nursery setting, the more of a chance you’ll have when it comes to getting a job a nursery nurse.

Qualifications you’ll need

Each role will have its own set of specific entry requirements and these will include the qualifications required to be eligible for the role.

As a basic entry requirement, you will usually need GCSE Maths and English at a Grade 5 (C Grade) or above. You may also be required to have a basic childcare course at level 3.

To become a fully qualified nursery nurse, you will need to complete a CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) course.

Skills and qualities of a nursery nurse

As you’ll be working with young children, there are certain qualities and skills you should have as a nursery nurse. These skills are what employers will often be looking for in an interview situation:

  • A patient, caring, calm, yet assertive and responsible nature
  • A passion to work within the Childcare and Education industry and with young children
  • Excellent knowledge of health, safety and hygiene
  • Excellent communication skills
  • General fitness, as you’ll be on your feet and moving around for the majority of the day
  • Ability to work in a team and individually
  • A positive, can-do attitude and enthusiastic approach to tasks

One of the many benefits of enroling as a student with us here at Open Study College is that we will help you even after your studies are finished. We work with a recruitment specialist who can help you secure a position in your dream career.

For more information on our courses in childcare and education, download our free guide here.

You can also contact one of our friendly advisers to find out more.