Respiratory nursing at Royal Papworth Hospital means caring for patients for many years, providing ongoing, specialist treatments.

We look after patients with cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, interstitial lung diseases, pulmonary vascular diseases, sleep conditions and people requiring ventilatory support.

I really enjoy my job because we look after patients with complex respiratory conditions, getting to know them and supporting them to get the best out of their health.
Graham Thomson
Deputy Charge Nurse, who started here as a healthcare support worker in 2012

Our respiratory ward is split into two areas, called 3 North and 4 South. 

3 North 

3 North provides treatment for patients who require ventilatory support overnight. These patients may have conditions such as COPD, chest wall deformities and neuromuscular disorders such as motor neurone disease (MND) and duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

We also have patients transferred from critical care units who require weaning from invasive ventilation and support approximately 1,500 patients who use non-invasive ventilation at home. 

The ward is divided into a 15-bedded inpatient ward. This includes three high dependency beds for invasively ventilated patients and an eight-bedded day case ward where patients who are using domiciliary non-invasive ventilation are regularly reviewed.

We hold weekly MND day cases and monthly clinics for patients with DMD. We also transition patients moving from paediatric to adult services.

Our values

4 South

4 South is a 37-bedded respiratory ward, supporting patients from all over the UK. 

We specialise in cystic fibrosis (CF), pulmonary hypertension (PH), lung defence and pulmonary vascular disease, but we also look after interstitial lung disease (ILD), thoracic oncology and transplant patients too.

Within 4 South is the Cambridge Centre for Lung Infection (CCLI) which specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of difficult lung infections and comprises three specialist groups: the adult CF centre, the lung defence clinic and the respiratory immunology clinic. 

We run successful programmes to teach patients how to self-administer treatments at home, including the intravenous antibiotic programme and immunoglobulin home therapy training. 

Nine nurses in different shades of blue smiling in a corridor.

Our PH service is one of seven adult centres that are commissioned to provide the UK National Pulmonary Hypertension Service. 

The emphasis of the thoracic oncology service at Royal Papworth is on the investigation of suspected thoracic cancers, particularly lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma. We provide a rapid access service for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer through to surgery, receiving referrals from across the east of England and beyond.

Every day is different with a combination of inpatients, day cases, and annual reviews. Our care depends on the different specialities and types of day cases, meaning we have a very dynamic team who work together to adjust to meet each day's needs.

Benefits and rewards

Find out more about the benefits we provide, from 50% off delicious food and drink in our restaurant to enhanced annual leave, a gold-standard pension and free tea, coffee and milk. 

You can also access a wide range of discounts and have access to free music gigs, comedy tours and sporting events.

Our staff benefits

Why work in our wards?

You do not need previous respiratory nursing experience to work here; if you bring passion and compassion then we will provide you with the tools and training needed to give high-quality care to our patients.

3 North

We are a progressive care unit which means we get to know our patients and their families over many years, making it a friendly and familiar place to give and receive care.

We have the day-to-day challenge of weaning patients from ventilation but also introducing patients to non-invasive ventilation. The care we give is very much nurse led, working alongside five very supportive consultants and five advanced nurse practitioners.

4 South

We have a high variety of specialities, making our ward unique in terms of development opportunities.

We are very specialised with the care that we provide as part of a multidiscplinary team, with dedicated physiotherapists, pharmacists and dietitians.

We are pioneers in respiratory research and procedures, so you will be able to participate and observe exclusive studies and trials.One of those is balloon pulmonary angioplasty, a procedure which is only performed here at Royal Papworth Hospital for the entirety of the UK.


Steve leaving our hospital after seven months of ventilation support for MND 

Training and education

We have a full-time continuing professional development nurses and sisters based on the ward, who work alongside and support new staff, students and staff who have been here many years.

We offer a variety of different education courses - including the Respiratory Module - and apprenticeships to encourage staff development with unique opportunities and experiences that will allow you to further grow your career.  

Apply now

Achievements and awards

We are one of the largest units in the UK supporting patients requiring non-invasive ventilation. In 2022 we were nominated for the Nursing Times Team of the Year and in 2023 the 3 North team won the Royal Papworth Hospital 'Team of the Year (clinical)' award.

Case study 

Eduardo, Deputy Charge Nurse

It was 2015 when I started at Royal Papworth Hospital as a cleaner. I had no background in healthcare but knew that I wanted to help people. 

In 2017 I successfully applied for a job as a healthcare support worker. My colleagues in the respiratory ward inspired me to want to become a nurse. 

I became a nursing associate apprentice in 2018 and then completed by top-up course, starting as a registered nurse in December 2022. I am now working temporarily as a band 6 deputy charge nurse.

I am so grateful to everyone around me for their support throughout my journey and who teach me so much every day.

Eduardo in a blue nurse top with white piping.


Get in touch or apply

If you have any questions about our respiratory nursing roles, please feel free to get in touch with our nursing recruitment team who will be happy to help or register your interest

Or you can start your application now.