Skills for Care

Registered nurses play a vital role, their role is complex and involves providing patient care, administering medications, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals. Learn more about the responsibilities and duties of registered nurses.

Recognising the responsibilities and contribution of registered nurses within social care is essential, with the workforce totalling 39,740 and growing this year for the first time since these figures have been recorded.

The registered nurse role is a complex, person centred, multi-faceted role, rooted in nursing knowledge and professional practice. Nurses working in social care often have high levels of autonomy, decision making and responsibility so that they can offer high quality support and individual choice to people with a range of complex needs. 

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This is a statement of role 'Recognising the responsibilities and contribution of registered nurses within social care'. It provides a detailed description of this complex role.

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This infographic brings the role of a registered nurse to life to gain an understanding and appreciation of nursing in social care.


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The care required by those who live in care homes is becoming more complex and driven by  technology. These standards include a set of benchmarks that can be used to assess the skills and knowledge that a registered nurse will need to demonstrate in a care home setting.


Fields of practice

Registered nurses in the UK study a specific field of practice as part of their nursing degree programme and each field has a specific registration with the NMC. These fields are:

  • adult nursing
  • children’s nursing
  • learning disabilities nursing
  • mental health nursing.

The field of practice the nurse studies in gives them a specific focus and expertise that supports better experience and outcomes of care. Skills for Care are working with stakeholders and the sector to identify the specific requirements to support field specific practice. In 2022 we held a learning disability nursing roundtable to explore the social care experience. At this event the social care learning disability nurses said:

Learning disability nurses in social care lead in places that care for a person with a learning disability including in people’s homes, the community and in the criminal justice system. They manage multiple complex conditions in partnership with people, their families and carers and advocate for accessible holistic person-centred care. They work in roles that may not carry a registered nurse title often providing knowledge and skills of how to support people with a learning disability to lead fulfilling and healthy lives.

Learning disability nurse


Are you interested in learning disability nursing roles? Visit our nursing careers in social care resource to find out more.

Enhanced, advanced and consultant level practice

Skills for Care are working with key stakeholders to scope and identify different levels of nursing practice with direct relevance to social care and the wider health and care system.

In 2022 the NMC announced new standards of proficiency for the community nursing specialist practice qualifications (SPQ) and universities are working on programmes some of which will have a particular relevance to social care.

Skills for Care continue to support the development of enhanced and advanced practice and keen to hear from nurses in the sector who are in roles working at this level.

For more information please email

Nurse leadership development programme 

A programme specifically tailored to meet the needs of registered nurses working in a leadership role across adult social care. The programme aims to increase leadership capabilities and create opportunities for leaders to experience shared learning opportunities and develop greater understanding of leadership models and theories to support the development of new ideas and enhance leadership practices.

Key aspects of the programme include:

  • developing a leadership approach in situations such as working across professional, organisational and system boundaries while gaining an understanding of leadership models.
  • implementing new practice and service redesign projects
  • developing and applying high-level negotiating and influencing and problem solving skills
  • supporting participants to gain confidence to lead in unfamiliar, complex and unpredictable contexts

Get in touch

This programme can be commissioned by partnerships, organisations, local authorities or other commissioning groups. We're able to deliver in your local area and in response to your local need. Please email


Duration 5 min 6 seconds



Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care Awards

The Chief Nurse Adult Social Care Awards have been set up to recognise the outstanding contributions of the many talented and amazing people working in adult social care.

To nominate a colleague or a team, read the nomination criteria and complete the application form.


Ten myths about being a registered nurse in social care

We dispel some of the myths around being a registered nurse in adult social care, for example, ‘being a registered nurse in adult social care is easy’, ‘you do this if you can’t get a proper job’ and ‘you can’t get re-validated’.

Duration 5 mins 8 secs



Case studies

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Nia says, “For me the distinguishing features are working as part of a team and being able to see the changes you can make to people’s lives.”

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Charlotte’s current role as a nurse trainer is helped by the experience she gained in the community of working across sectors and building working relationships across health and social care.

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Patricia sees delivering holistic care as adding value to her role and enables working with the multidisciplinary team and families, she sees her role as key in coordinating, leading and being involved in all aspects of care delivery.