It takes a team to run a busy hospital or health centre and deliver an effective health service. There are hundreds of different roles in the NHS. This list is designed to provide a helpful signpost to the main career areas - it is not a comprehensive list of all careers within the NHS. Explore the A to Z index and find the career for you, or find out what might interest you if you're not sure.
- Allied Health Professionals
- Work closely with patients, often on a one-to-one basis providing treatment
and helping with rehabilitation.
- Contribute to the planning, the quality and quantity of future patient care.
- Work closely with patients, often on a one-to-one basis providing treatment
and helping with rehabilitation
- Diagnose, care and treat illnesses, infections, diseases and the well-being
- Diagnose and provide treatment for a range of problems affecting the mouth,
teeth and gums
- Provide care, advice and planning for women and their families during and
- Health Informatics
- Manage information and communications technology to support the running of
- Provide care for patients supporting treatment, recovery and promoting good
- Healthcare Science
- Scientists and Technicians help to prevent, diagnose and treat illness using
scientific knowledge and technical skills.
- Wider Healthcare Team
- Supporting roles in the NHS.
- Administrative staff may work in a range of roles to ensure the effective
running of a department or whole NHS organisation.
- Adult Nurses are primarily concerned with nursing sick and injured adults
back to health in both hospital and community settings.
- Ambulance care assistants transport non-emergency patients to and from hospital.
- Ambulance Technicians assist paramedics in accident and emergency work.
- Anaesthetists are doctors who administer drugs in the form of anaesthetics
to patients and monitor the condition of patients as they undergo treatment,
such as surgery.
- Anatomical Pathology Technicians assist Pathologists (Doctors) in conducting
post mortems - vital to understanding the causes of death and enabling promotion
of good health in others.
- Art Therapists enable their clients to communicate, to express their feelings,
and to explore their lives and problems through art work.
and Hearing Therapist
- Audiologists identify and assess hearing and/or balance disorders, recommending
and providing appropriate rehabilitation and management.
- Biomedical Scientists carry out a range of laboratory tests to assist doctors
in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
- Cardiac Physiologists carry out investigations into the functioning of the
heart and equipment fitted to help the heart, such as pacemakers.
- Cardiographers work in the cardiac department of a hospital, operating the machines which monitor the functioning of the heart.
- Cardiologists are qualified doctors who diagnose, assess and manage patients
with diseases of the heart and vascular system.
- Catering staff are responsible for providing food to patients and staff.
- Chaplains are salaried NHS employees, ministering both to patients and to
- Children's nurses care for sick children and provide support to their families.
- Clinical biochemist
- Clinical biochemists produce and interpret the results of chemical and biochemical analyses performed on blood and other body fluids to help in the diagnosis and management of disease."
- Clinical Cytogeneticists are experts in studying chromosomes from samples
of human blood, tissue, bone marrow or other bodily fluids, which is very
important in diagnosing genetic diseases.
- Clinical Scientists in Embryology, or Clinical Embryologists investigate
the many scientific areas of infertility.
- Clinical Engineers or Bio-Engineers design equipment for monitoring, diagnosis,
treatment and rehabilitation or research.
- Clinical Scientists in Immunology (or Clinical Immunologists) undertake
researching and investigation of the immune system.
- Clinical Microbiologists, or Clinical Scientist in Microbiology, deal with
identifying bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.
Scientist in Histocompatability and Immunogenetics
- Clinical Scientists in Histocompatability and Immunogenetics are mostly
involved in the genetic matching of donors with patients.
Relations (PR) Manager
- Communications and PR Managers have a role in making information about their
organisation accessible to patients, staff and the public.
- Computing staff work in the broad area of Information, Communication and
Technology maintaining networks, hardware and software systems used by professionals,
managerial and support staff.
- Counsellors provide support through "talking therapy" to patients and
service users in many areas of healthcare.
- critical care technologist
- Critical care technologists are specially trained healthcare scientists
with expert knowledge of the physiology and technology involved in the
delivery of critical care
- Cervical Cytology Screeners use a microscope to examine cells to screen
for abnormalities that may be the first signs of cervical cancer.
- Dental Hygienists carry out such procedures as scaling and polishing teeth,
and applying topical fluoride and fissure sealants to maintain a healthy
mouth, teeth and gums.
- Dental Nurses support the dentist in all aspects of patient care, including
getting the appropriate instruments ready, mixing materials and ensuring
- Dental Technicians make the dentures, crowns, bridges and dental braces that
improve patients' appearance, speech and their ability to chew.
- Dental Therapists support Dentists by carrying out a range of routine procedures
and treatments prescribed by the Dentist.
- Dentists care for the teeth and gums and may work in hospital or community
- Dietitians work with people to promote nutritional wellbeing, prevent food-related
problems and treat disease.
- Doctors diagnose symptoms and recommend treatment for patients.
- Donor Carer
- Donor Carers look after blood donors when they are donating blood.
- Drama Therapists encourage clients to experience their physicality, to re-examine
their existing beliefs, attitudes and feelings, and try out new, alternative
ways of acting - or living - in the world.
- Emergency Medical Dispatchers deal with urgent calls to the Ambulance service
and help to mobilise and control Accident and Emergency vehicles.
& Facilities Management
- Estates and Facilities Managers ensure that the built environment provides
safe, secure, comfortable and welcoming healthcare facilities for patients,
carers, visitors and staff.
- Finance Managers are responsible for ensuring that NHS funds are appropriately
allocated and accounted for.
- Gardeners will be responsible for the propogation and cultivation of plants,
shrubs and lawns at NHS premises.
- Gastroenterology Technicians use various instruments to measure pressure
and acidity in the alimentary canal.
- General Managers work alongside clinical staff in organising the provision
and delivery of healthcare.
- GPs see patients in surgeries and their own homes to diagnose medical conditions
and recommend appropriate treatment.
- Grounds staff maintain the physical environment outside of buildings.
- Gynaecologists are qualified doctors who treat diseases and disorders of
the female reproductive system.
- Health Care Assistants work within hospital or community settings under
the guidance of a qualified Healthcare Professional.
Education and Promotion Officer
- The role of Health promotion/Education staff involves planning and implement
policies to promote good health and prevent disease.
- Health informatics staff provide the knowledge, skills and tools which enable
information to be collected, managed, used and shared to support the delivery
of healthcare and to promote health.
- Health Records staff collate, organise, retrieve and archive patient or
- Health Support Workers provide care/treatment to patients under the supervision
of a Healthcare Professional.
- A Health Visitor is a qualified nurse who has undertaken specialist training on
the promotion of health and prevention of illness primarily for children aged
- High intensity therapist
- High intensity therapists work with clients who have a range of complex problems related to anxiety and depression.
- Hospital Play Specialist
- Hospital play specialists lead playful activities and use play as therapeutic tool.
- Staff in these careers are responsible for ensuring that staff have a comfortable
stay whilst receiving healthcare within the NHS.
- Housekeepers manage a range of services on the ward, including cleaning,
catering and linen.
- Human Resource (HR) Managers are responsible for the recruitment, selection,
appraisal, development and training of staff.
- Information management is about using information to make informed decisions
and set priorities for the provision of healthcare.
- Laboratory staff are clinical support staff who work in pathology laboratories
helping doctors and scientists to diagnose and treat disease.
- Learning Disability Nurses work with people with learning disabilities to
help them become as independent as possible.
- Library staff work as part of Knowledge Management - supporting health professionals
and management staff in their education, training and development and professional
- Laundry work involves taking items of clothing or linen from wards and other
patient areas, providing an appropriate cleaning service and returning items
- Health Service Managers are responsible for the delivery and commissioning
of local health care, through the management of hospital, family and community
Illustrator/ clinical Photographer
- Medical illustrators/photographers provide a wide range of medical photography
and graphic services to all staff working in medical and paramedical areas.
- Medical Laboratory Assistants are clinical support staff, who work in laboratories,
helping doctors and scientists to diagnose and treat disease.
- Medical Physicists use their scientific knowledge in such treatments as
supervising the dose of radiation to treat a cancer tumour or developing
techniques to show what is happening in the body e.g. x-ray, nuclear medicine.
- Mental Health Nurses care for people with mental health problems in hospitals
and in the community.
- Midwives offer individual care to women and their families and help them
take part in their own care planning during pregnancy.
- Molecular Geneticists use chemical examination of cellular DNA to define
- Music Therapists facilitate interaction and development of insight into
clients' behaviour and emotional difficulties through music.
- Neurophysiological Technicians set up and operate the electronic equipment
which records electrical activity of the brain and nervous system.
- Neurosurgeons are doctors who deal with the diagnosis and treatment of processes
affecting the nervous system.
- Nurses work in a variety of settings to directly provide and manage the
care directly of individual patients.
- Nursery staff
- Nursery staff provide care for children up to five years old.
- Nursing Assistants work under the guidance of qualified Nurses to provide basic
- Obstetricians are qualified doctors who deal principally with the management
of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Occupational Therapists help people to overcome physical, psychological
or social problems arising from illness or disability, by concentrating
on what they are able to achieve, rather than on their disabilities.
- Operating Department Practitioners work as part of the theatre team to help
ensure every operation is as safe and effective as possible.
- Ophthalmologists are doctors who specialise in the medical and surgical
management of conditions of the eye.
- Optometrist/ophthalmic optician
- An Optometrist performs eyesight tests and examinations and prescribes corrective lenses or spectacles to those who need them.
- Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the growth of the
- Orthopaedic Technicians work in Trauma and Orthopaedic clinics where they
undertake and apply plastering techniques to patients.
- Orthoptists assess and manage a range of eye problems, mainly those affecting
the way the eyes move.
- Orthotists provide a range of splints, braces and special footwear to aid
movement, correct deformity and relieve discomfort.
- Paediatricians are qualified doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and
treatment of disease and care of children.
- Painters and Decorators are employed to maintain the decor of NHS buildings
and other structures
- Paramedics are the senior members of accident and emergency ambulance crews,
trained in all aspects of pre-hospital emergency care and in emergency driving.
- Pathologists are qualified doctors who study the causes of diseases and
specialise in their detection.
- Perfusion Scientists and are members of the open-heart surgery team who
are mainly responsible for the operation of the heart-lung machine.
- Pharmacists are experts in Drugs and Medicine and can be involved in all
aspects of their use, preparation, discovery and development and the monitoring
- Pharmacy Technicians prepare and deliver drugs, store incoming drugs and
make up sterile preparations.
- Phlebotomists take blood from patients for examination in laboratories.
- Physiological Scientists use highly specialised equipment to monitor treatment
and help in the diagnosis of disease.
- Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP)
- The PWPs provide high volume, low intensity interventions for clients with mild to moderate depression.
- Physiotherapists treat the physical problems caused by accidents, illness
and ageing, particularly those that affect the muscles, bones, heart, circulation
- Podiatrists, or chiropodists, specialise in the lower limb and foot in healthy
- Porters move patients between different departments and wards in safety
and comfort and transport complex and valuable equipment that may need expert
- Practice Managers work within the Primary Care sector, where they manage
the overall running of general practices (GP surgeries).
- Prosthetists provide artificial replacements for patients who have lost or were
born without a limb.
- Psychiatrists are qualified doctors who diagnose and treat patients with
mental health conditions.
- Psychologists bring psychological theory and practice to bear on solving
problems or bringing about improvements for individuals, groups and organisations.
- Psychotherapists use a psychological approach to treat adults and children
for a wide range of mental and physical difficulties.
- Radiographer Assistants assist qualified Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiographers.
- Radiographer - Diagnostic
- Diagnostic Radiographers produce and interpret high-quality images used
in the diagnosis of injury and disease.
- Radiographer - Therapeutic
- Therapeutic Radiographers are specialists in cancer treatment and treat
patients through the use of high doses of radiation.
- Radiologists are qualified doctors who work in the medical specialities
of Clinical Radiology (diagnostic imaging) and Clinical Oncology (cancer
- Respiratory Physiology Technicians (RPTs) perform a wide range of investigations
to aid in the diagnosis of any respiratory disorders, such as asthma and
- Within a hospital, Medical Secretaries usually work for a consultant or
a group of consultants. Within a GPs surgery they can work for one or a
group of doctors.
& Language Therapist
- Speech and Language Therapists work with people who have problems with communication,
including speech defects, or with chewing or swallowing.
- Sterile Services Managers are responsible for the sterile supplies needed
for patient care and for ensuring that medical equipment is disinfected.
- Stores staff look after general stock taking and the collection and delivery
of stores to wards, clinics and departments.
- Surgeons are qualified doctors who specialise in operating on particular
parts of the body or to address specific injuries, diseases or degenerative
- Technical Instructors assist qualified Occupational Therapists, and install
supportive devices in patients' homes and in the community.
- Therapy Assistants work within hospital or community settings under the
guidance of a qualified Healthcare Professional.
- Ward Clerk
- Ward Clerks work under the guidance, supervision and instruction of the Ward Manager and other qualified staff on a hospital ward.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that other roles exist
within the NHS.