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How To Become A Registered General Nurse In The UK

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In the UK, Registered General Nurses (RGN) are also referred to as Registered Adult Nurses.

Registered general nursing is one of the specializations in Nursing. Nurses’ duties vary depending on their specialization and the area of healthcare they work in.

Registered general nurses work majorly in hospitals. However, RGN is not limited to working in a hospital, as they can as well work in assisted living facilities, homes, clinics, schools, and a lot more.

Registered general nurses can also major in specific areas such as family practice, labour and delivery, cardiac care, geriatrics, paediatrics, and emergency nursing. Regardless of the area of healthcare a Registered General Nurse works in, there are certain general duties expected to be carried out by a Registered General Nurse.


Registered General Nurse

Major duties of a Registered General Nurse

• Handling and administering medications to patients, and closely monitor for side effects or reactions

• Instruct and guide patients and guardian on care and treatment plans

• Update and record patient’s medical information and file

• Maintain accurate and detailed report of the patient

• Coordinating with other medical teams to plan, implement and evaluate patient health and care plans

Registered general nurses need to be well informed about the new technologies and tools to help improve and provide the best care for patients.

To be effective and efficient with the important duties, a Registered General Nurse is required to have both soft and technical skills.

Technical skills are important for registered general nurses to provide great quality care for patients. Likewise, soft skills are also important for registered general nurses.

RGN must possess problem-solving abilities, emotional intelligence, excellent communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and the ability to work with a team.

Registered General Nurse


Differences Between Registered General Nurses And Other Nurses

To become a registered nurse, an individual must be a graduate of a nursing school or obtain a nursing degree from a university. This is the same for every other type of nursing. The degree obtained from the institution automatically qualifies an individual to become a nurse.

However, to become a registered nurse, an individual must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). A registered nurse can be improved or upgraded by getting certified in specific areas such as family practice, labour and delivery, cardiac care, geriatrics, paediatrics, and emergency nursing. Registered nurses with these certificates are called Certified Registered General Nurses (CRGN). While they can work generally as a nurse, they can also work in their area of specialization.

Registered general nurses are able to perform general nursing duties, and nurses working in other nursing specializations work specifically in their fields. For example, a Geriatric nurse specializes in the treatment of older people.

While studying to become a nurse, every student nurse takes a course relating to all fields in nursing before choosing a specific field to specialize in. This helps the students have an idea of every nursing specializations.

Registered General Nurse



Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a Registered General Nurse in the UK:

• You need to have completed the O’levels degree course with a minimum of 5 credits which usually include English, Maths, and Science or its equivalent.

• You must complete a diploma course or a university degree course in nursing, this is the minimum qualification needed to become a nurse.

• You must go through a minimum of a 6 months practical internship,

• You need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to be qualified as a registered general nurse.

Once qualified and registered with the NMC, you are legally allowed to call yourself a ‘Registered Nurse’

When you have met all of the requirements, you will receive a PIN from the Nursing and Midwifery Council after paying for registration. Whilst you are waiting for confirmation as a registered nurse from NMC, you can work as a band 3 or band 4 medical assistant depending on the work environment.

For Nurses Trained Outside of the EEA /EU

Nurses trained outside the UK can also register with NMC to become registered nurses in the UK, this gives you the license to work and live in the UK.

Step 1 – Qualify for NMC registration

To qualify for NMC, you will need to do :


Provide proof of your English language Proficiency skill – IELTS or proof that your Nursing degree was taught and examined in English.

For IELTS: A minimum score of 7 in all components and a total band score of 7

If you do not achieve the required score in one sitting, it is possible to submit a combined result from two sitting if:

  • You sit for both tests within six months of each other.
  • All IELTS test score in both sittings are above 6.5 and you achieve 7.0 or higher when both results are viewed together.

The language of Instruction for your Nursing degree is in English.

In lieu of an English proficiency test, you can also provide proof that your Nursing or Midwifery degree was taught and examined in the English language.


NMC Test of Competence (ToC) 

Take the NMC computer based test to assess your skills and knowledge. This test evaluates the competency level of people wanting to join the NHS register from overseas or rejoin after a long period away from practice.

Step 2 – Apply for pre-registration Nurse/ NHS Healthcare assistant Post

After you have passed your English proficiency test and NMC ToC Computer-based Test, you will be eligible to apply for pre-registration Nurse/ NHS Healthcare assistant Post

Step 3 – Apply for Tier 2 Visa 

After you have successfully passed your NMC computer-based test and you have been offered an NHS post and your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) has been submitted and approved, you can then apply for a Tier 2 visa.

Step 4 – Take your OSCE exam

After your arrival in the UK, you will be required to take the OSCE exam within three months of the employment date stated on your CoS.

Step 5 – Identification Verification

After you have passed your OSCE exam, you will be invited for an in-person identification check. This check often takes place on the same day as your OSCE exam.

During this interview, you will provide original copies of the documents you sent previously for verification.

After a satisfactory evaluation, you will then be registered with the NMC and be issued an NMC pin which allows you to work as a nurse within the NHS.

If you need further clarity and guidance on degree options and career paths in Nursing, please click here to chat with our counsellors. 



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