Careers in nursing are to be promoted through a new NHS website designed to dissolve misconceptions about the profession, and contribute to recruiting thousands of nurses.

Government research has shown that nursing is often mistaken as a low paid job with a primary role of cleaning up mess. One survey showed that only six per cent of 18 year old students knew a nurse could potentially earn up to £100,000 a year. Only one in four students said they were aware that nurses could train to consultant level.

The new website contains innovative features to help users explore their suitability for roles within nursing.

“Nurses are a significant and crucial part of the NHS workforce, with a key role to play in the current reshaping of NHS patient care. But there are still misconceptions about what nursing actually entails,” said Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, the organisation which manages NHS Careers.

“The information on the Nursing Careers website is designed to encourage well-informed and motivated job seekers to fill the wide variety of opportunities in the NHS, and to challenge any misconceptions about what a career in nursing is about.”

Dame Christine Beasley, the chief nursing officer said: “Nursing is a varied and incredibly rewarding profession, where you can care for individuals and support people and their communities to improve and maintain their health. In addition, there are many opportunities to enhance your skills in specialist practice, research, management and education. Nursing offers increasingly diverse opportunities for students as it becomes an all-graduate entry profession from 2013.

“This new website is a great tool to attract candidates from different backgrounds, who may not have previously been aware of nursing as a career option.”