Securing a band 6 nursing job

Published on: 20 May 2021

Advice on how to move into a band 6 nursing job.

Advice on how to move into a band 6 nursing job

Band 6 nursing roles vary and require different skills and levels of experience.

Dr Emily McWhirter, consultant adviser to the World Health Organization and previously director of nursing at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London until September 2020 has this advice for nurses who are thinking of applying for band 6 nursing jobs.

Skills needed for band 6 nursing roles vary

A review of band 6 positions shows a wide variation in the qualifications deemed essential for roles at this level.

Specialist areas such as intensive care units or emergency departments may seek candidates who have at least 18 months of post-registration experience. They may also want candidates who have undertaken postgraduate education, such as a master’s degree or mentorship course.

Other areas may be less specific, stating just ‘post-registration experience’ or ‘previous experience' as essential criteria.

There is also variation in the length of post-registration experience required, which can range from as little as six months to up to two years. This suggests two things:

1. Band 6 roles are not all the same. Employers are looking for a wide variety of skills, experiences and levels of education.

2. Nurses develop skills to take on more senior roles at different rates. Some may find leadership and management roles suit them well and move quickly into more senior positions, while others may prefer to stay put. The profession needs nurses at every level.

Put simply, there is no ‘right time’ to apply for a band 6 role. But if you advocate for your patients, support senior colleagues, take every opportunity to learn, seek help when you are unsure and lead with compassion and empathy, perhaps now is the time to think about taking the next step.

Dos and don’ts when considering a band 6 nursing job

  • Do talk to your line manager and ask for feedback on your recent performance – advice is invaluable. Be open-minded and receptive to all feedback, good and bad
     
  • Do ensure you have good clinical supervision. This can support your continuing professional development and is especially valuable when you have a new and more senior role
     
  • Do compare your CV against the criteria listed in the person specification section for the position. If you don’t yet meet the essential criteria, think about how you might get the missing elements or how you might convince an employer that your skills are a good match
     
  • Do talk to the recruiting manager for any new position so you can gain as much insight into the role as possible
     
  • Do take your time. The past year has been an exhausting one for many of us and a new job needs energy and a clear head
     
  • Don't worry about what colleagues might say; only you can decide if the time is right
     
  • Don't be disheartened if you do not get a new role straight away. Ask for feedback on your application and interview – gaining insight into how you come across to others will help you next time
     
  • Don't give up. If the time is right for you to get a new role, it will happen

By Dr Emily McWhirter, consultant adviser to the World Health Organization and previously director of nursing at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London until September 2020.

You can search for band 6 nursing jobs on RCN Bulletin Jobs.


This is an abridged version of the article Is it time to step up to a band 6 nursing position? which was first published in Nursing Standard.

Read more careers articles on Nursing Standard