NHS Nursing Bands Explained

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As a nurse working within the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, it is essential to understand the different Nursing Bands and the roles, responsibilities, and opportunities that come with each. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the different Nursing Bands within the NHS, as well as the requirements, professional development opportunities, and key differences between each.

What Exactly are Nursing Bands?

NHS Nursing Bands are a classification system used to categorize nurses based on their level of experience, education, and responsibilities. The NHS is one of the largest employers of nurses in the world, and the Nursing Bands play a crucial role in determining the pay, benefits, and opportunities for professional development for nurses working within the NHS.

Overview of Nursing Bands in the NHS

As a nurse, there are 5 main Nursing Bands you’ll need to know about. These consist of Bands 5 through 8c/9. Each Band represents a different level of experience, education and responsibilities, with Band 5 being the “entry-level” position and Band 9 being the most senior position.

Almost every nurse will start out at Band 5 and can move up the bands by furthering their skills and experiences in the workplace. Nurses in higher bands have more responsibilities but are also paid more in return.

Band 5 Nurses - Newly Qualified Nurse / Staff Nurse

Band 5 Nurses often start in a hospital ward setting, allowing them to gain more experience in a workplace setting and providing opportunities to further their qualifications and training. Band 5 Nurses will have a diploma or degree in nursing as a formal qualification, with additional skills such as organisation, IT and communication.

Staff Nurses are usually responsible for creating care plans for their patients, managing said plans and delivering high-quality and compassionate care for the duration of a patient’s stay. These nurses will be part of a close-knit team and will have opportunities to learn from other experienced healthcare professionals

Band 5 Nurse Pay

According to, Band 5 Nurses can expect a pay of around £27,055 to £32,934 (subject to change) 

Band 6 Nurses - Senior Staff Nurse

Band 6 Nurses often have very similar responsibilities to a Band 5 Nurse. The key difference between the two is that Band 6 Nurses are beginning to become specialised (depending on their chosen path). 

To progress into Band 6, you’ll need to actively pursue training in your chosen specialisation, as well as gain enough experience working in a healthcare setting. You’ll be given more responsibilities including supervising students, staff and other team members you’ll be working with.

Band 6 Nurse Pay

According to, Band 6 Nurses can expect a pay of around £33,706 to £40,588 (subject to change)

Band 7 Nurses - Advanced Nurse / Nurse Practitioner

Band 7 roles tend to require a Master’s level degree or equivalent. Meaning that you’ll need to take on years of extra study and training to reach this band. Most trusts and employers want to help nurses reach this level, so you’ll have plenty of support

Job Responsibilities see a fairly significant jump from Band 6. The most important responsibilities of a Band 7 nurse include being able to conduct detailed assessments, make diagnoses and prescribe medicine to patients (Similar to a doctor).

Band 7 Nurse Pay

Additional responsibilities mean extra pay. According to, Band 7 Nurses can expect a pay of around £41,659 through £47,672 (subject to change)

Band 8 Nurses - Modern Matron, Chief or Head Nurse

Band 8 can be confusing for Nurses, as it is separated into 4 different subsections; Band 8a,8b, 8c and 8d (8a being the lowest, and 8d the highest.) 

Essentially, Band 8 Nurses will be taking responsibility for a large team of nurses. Think of it like a management role. You’ll also retain the responsibilities of a Band 7 nurse. 

At Band 8 Level, you’ll need to have excellent management skills as well as years of experience in the healthcare field. In Band 8a, you’ll likely be highly specialised in your chosen field, whereas Bands 8b and over tend to be more senior management roles. 

Few Nurses make it to Band 8 or higher, so you’ll need to be especially dedicated and willing to further your knowledge to reach this level.

Band 8 Nurse Pay

According to, Nurses in Band 8 will have a varied salary based on which sub-band they are in. Starting at around £48,526 for the lower end of band 8a, to £91,787 for the highest end of Band 8d. (subject to change)

Band 9 Nurses - Consultant Level Nurse

Band 9 Nurses are some of the most senior positions within the NHS and NHS management. Band 9 Nurses help shape high-level decision-making and are usually experts in their field who help to educate and train others. 

Reaching Band 9 requires a career-long pursuit of developing specialist skills and additional qualifications to supplement nursing work experience. You’ll be recognised as one of the leading voices in your chosen specialisation and will likely have a large number of new responsibilities outside of your typical nursing duties.

Very few nurses make it to Band 9, but it can be achieved if you are willing to dedicate yourself to it.

Band 9 Nurse Pay

According to, Band 9 Nurses can expect to earn between £95,135 through $109,475 to match their expertise and additional responsibilities.

NHS Nursing Bands Explained - Conclusion

Understanding the NHS Nursing Bands is essential for nurses working within the NHS. Each Nursing Band represents a different level of experience, education, and responsibilities, with Band 5 being the “entry-level” position and Band 9 being the most senior. By furthering their skills and experiences in the workplace, nurses can move up the bands and gain more responsibilities, higher pay, and better professional development opportunities.

The journey to reach Band 9 is a career-long pursuit that requires dedication, additional qualifications, and a strong passion for the nursing profession. Understanding the Nursing Bands will help you to make informed decisions about your career progression and to reach your full potential as a nurse within the NHS.


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