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Should I Become an NHS Nurse or a Private Nurse?Anyone working towards a job in nursing no doubt has a thousand questions about their upcoming...

Should I Become an NHS Nurse or a Private Nurse?

Anyone working towards a job in nursing no doubt has a thousand questions about their upcoming career but one of the most pressing decisions is choosing whether to become an NHS Nurse or a Private Nurse.

The age-old debate as to whether working as a Nurse for the NHS or in the private sector is better is still ongoing. Both sides have their perks, and it really boils down to what you are looking for in your career. To help you decide, we’ve listed the key differences between public and private sector nursing below.


If you’re looking at nursing as a lifelong career, you will most likely want to move up the ranks as you gain experience and perhaps further qualifications. 

Nurse Career Progression – NHS 

The NHS is renowned for investing in its employees. As an NHS Nurse, you can benefit from paid study days and a vast array of training courses to help you add to your skillset. 

Nurse Career Progression – Private Nurse 

Career progression in private nursing jobs largely depends on who you work for. In comparison to the NHS, private sector nursing care operates in a much smaller capacity.  

That isn’t to say that there aren’t larger private healthcare businesses with ample avenues of nursing to work in, or that smaller businesses aren’t willing to invest in their employees, but it will be different in the case of each employer.  


This is a hot topic for debate between NHS and private sector nursing. It’s been long believed that Private Nurse jobs are the way to go if you want the highest salary. While that can be the case in some instances, earning more as a Private Nurse isn’t always easy or straightforward.  

Nurse Pay Rates - NHS 

As a publicly funded organisation, the NHS Nurse pay rates are fixed for each type of Nurse job description. This is because the NHS introduced the Agenda for Change (AfC) system, which made sure wages were fair among Nurses and other NHS healthcare professionals.  

So, if you choose a Nurse job in the public sector, the NHS Nurse salary will be incredibly transparent as you will fall into one of their wage bands depending on your experience and qualifications.  

Nurse Pay Rates – Private Sector 

When you take a job in the private sector, there is a lot more mystery surrounding the earning potential for Private Nurses. 

This means you really need to prove your knowledge and experience in interviews for private nursing jobs, UK learners. For this reason, you will find many seasoned Nurses with years of experience and numerous qualifications making the switch to the private sector. This is because they can more easily prove their worth and command a higher rate of pay which, unlike the NHS, is uncapped.