Nursing vs Healthcare Management

We're comparing nursing and healthcare management to help you decide which path is better for you.

Healthcare is a large, highly important sector the world around, and in the UK the NHS is by far the largest employer, with more than 1.5 million members of staff around the country.

If you want to work in a role that makes a real impact on peoples' lives, you have likely considered studying for a healthcare-related qualification. Depending on your preference and skillset, you may be facing a choice between providing physical care in a nursing role, and a more managerial position. 

Not sure which path to follow? Let’s consider the two: 

Who is it for?

NURSING - If you enjoy caring for people and are looking for a varied job, this could be an ideal career for you. You would be caring for people who are ill, injured and have physical disabilities.

Nurses and doctors walking in hospital

HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT - You could be looking after a local hospital, GP surgery or community health service. Your responsibilities would often include managing the cost, delivery and quality of local healthcare services. If you want to develop leadership and financial management skills, and want to motivate others, this might be the career for you.

What hours would I work?

NURSING - You would normally work 37.5 hours a week which could include evenings, weekends, night shifts and bank holidays. You may be part of an on-call rota system to cover emergencies.

HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT - You're likely to be based in an office, working 9am - 5pm or similar; however, you may be expected to work shifts or be on-call.

How much could I earn?

NURSING - According to Prospects, a fully qualified nurse will earn a starting salary of £24,214, rising to £30,112. More experienced nurses will typically earn a maximum of £37,267 a year.

HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT - Anyone joining the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme can expect a starting salary of £24,628, rising to anywhere between £27,000 and £37,000 upon completion of the scheme.

How can I enter the career?

NURSING - To become a qualified nurse you will need to study for a degree in nursing and register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT - The first step would be to obtain a degree in health or management. You could then apply for the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme (to get on to the scheme you will need a minimum of a 2:2 degree or equivalent qualification). Alternatively, you could apply directly to the NHS for a junior management position.