Nursing Officer

Service:Surface Fleet
Humanitarian aid
Nursing Officer writing out notes in a hospital

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Life as a Nursing Officer offers extraordinary challenges and responsibilities, but comes with opportunities and rewards to match. Wherever you go in the world and whatever you’re doing, you’ll play a key part in safeguarding our personnel and civilians alike.

You could be in a NHS hospital caring for returning military personnel or out in the field working in a conflict zone. Whatever you do, you’ll encounter some of the most challenging environments imaginable, developing both personally and clinically as you experience a life few medical professionals can imagine.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Lead a team providing medical support to Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel on shore and at sea, in the UK and around the world.
  • Develop and maintain your clinical skills in order to take those skills around the world on operations when required. During peacetime, you’ll be based within a Joint Hospital Group Unit in either Plymouth, Portsmouth or Birmingham.
  • Gain clinical and management experience and take responsibility for mentoring junior nurses and medical assistants.
  • Wider job opportunities as your career progresses in senior leadership positions, clinical governance, training, operations and deployed roles including as a Head of Department or Senior Nursing Officer. 
  • Be part of a world-class medical service that’s recognised far beyond the Armed Forces. You’ll represent our nation whatever you’re doing and wherever you are.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • An opportunity to study further at degree or masters level, to top up your professional portfolio
  • You’ll have the opportunity to carry out specialist courses funded by the Royal Navy, in areas such as Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine, Trauma and Orthopaedics and Primary Care. 
  • Civilian recognised leadership and management qualifications

Skills you'll develop

  • Unique nursing care, including assessment, treatment and management that can be utilised in a variety of environments all over the world
  • How to use your expertise and develop your leadership and management skills in a maritime environment
  • Become a Divisional Officer, responsible for the welfare and development of other junior clinical personnel. 

Career progression

What you'll need


  • Aged 20 to 39
  • A degree in Adult Nursing is required - you can apply in the final year of completing your degree to be selected
  • Registered with the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) 
  • 5 grades A*-C (9-4) Including grade 6 (B) or above in English Language and Maths
  • A National of the United Kingdom, a Commonwealth citizen or Dual National
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • A caring and compassionate nature

  • Decisive with strong independent thinking
  • Highly organised and able to remain cool under pressure
  • Approachable as a strong team leader
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place in two parts. A Pre Recorded Interview (PRI) is an online assessment which assesses your motivation to join the Royal Navy as an officer and your awareness of the Royal Navy. The Group Planning Exercise (GPE) is the second stage of the AIB and is an online competency based assessment which will take place on a separate day to the PRI. It will be conducted in a virtual group environment and you will be assessed on your contribution to the team based on your individual performance

  • Nurses Selection Board

    Upon passing you AIB, your application will be reviewed by the Nurses Selection Board for final selection

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at Britannia Royal Naval College

Initial training

You’ll spend 30 weeks training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, focusing on: Military Skills, Maritime Skills and Initial Fleet Time. The first 15 weeks is the militarisation phase which includes learning leadership and teamwork skills, and the principles of command and management. You will put this into practice during several exercises on Dartmoor. You’ll then complete 15 weeks marinization, learning seamanship skills, navigation and you’ll spend time at sea on board one of our ships learning about life at sea. 

You’ll then join a Joint Hospital Group Unit in either Plymouth, Portsmouth or the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham. If newly qualified, you’ll complete preceptorship and a 2-year Foundation Programme which will ensure you are rotated through a variety of clinical areas including medicine, surgery and specialist areas like the emergency department or critical care. 

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

You’ll get the opportunity to be involved in medical exercises and future deployments. This could be on RFA Argus and working in the casualty receiving facility on board.

Once the Foundation Programme is complete there is the opportunity to specialise in ITU, Trauma and orthopaedics, emergency care, primary health care, burns and plastics, mental health, surgical and medical.  Speciality training means going back to university and study at degree or masters level, which the Royal Navy will pay for. As a specialist Intensive Care nurse or Emergency Department Nurse you can also deploy on Role 2 Afloat or with the Commando Forward Surgical Group attached to the Royal Marines.

You’ll complete Junior Officers Leadership courses during this time and start taking on divisional responsibilities within your unit, learning how to coach and mentor others, as well as progressing your own career.