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Postgraduate study
Nursing & Health

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting) Professional Graduate Certificate

If you are a nurse or midwife looking to become a health visitor, this course is ideal for you to contribute positively to the new public health agenda to tackle health inequalities on an individual and community basis and become an independent, resilient, dynamic, practitioner, who can promote a critical enquiry of specialist community public health nursing practice.


Course overview

Your educational journey of personal and professional development in a supportive and student-centred environment builds on your prior knowledge, skills and experience.

This Nursing and Midwifery Council-approved course leads to registration on Part 3 of the register as a specialist community public health nurse (health visiting).

Leadership is a key element, and you focus on quality improvement and how leadership skills and qualities can influence achievement of sustained change within SCPHN practice, and develop as a responsive, resilient and flexible practitioner who can respond to the changing health and social care environment. You investigate the health needs, protection and surveillance of the child and family in a health visiting context, and prescribe from the community practitioners' formulary.

This is a practice-centred course with 50% taught theory and 50% practice. You require a contract and agreement with a health trust, local authority or employer to provide a clinical placement. You are allocated a practice assessor by your sponsoring organisation – they facilitate your learning in practice and are responsible for assessing your competence in practice.

You explore evidence appraisal, to understand the evidence which underpins and supports practice. Your practice experience enables you to link your theoretical knowledge base to practice. You learn alongside students from a range of local partners, as well as students on postgraduate courses which encourages different perspectives and ideas.

Top reasons to study this course include:

• Our strong links with local social care services, the NHS trusts, private and charitable organisations, and service users ensure the course content is relevant and current

• You learn with students from a range of backgrounds in an inclusive, diverse and supportive environment, which will enrich your learning experience.

• Experienced, dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team have a strong focus on evidence-base practice

• Varied and unique career prospects across all areas of health and social care

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Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

You study evidence based practice and the factors which impact on the health and well-being of children and their families; protection and safeguarding standards for children and their families; the new health visiting agenda, UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative standards; public health, personal leadership philosophies and behaviours and their application within organisational settings; public health nursing practice, legal and ethical dimensions; prescribing from the community practitioners’ formulary, and designing and managing a service evaluation

Course structure

Core modules

Community Practitioner Prescribing

This module prepares specialist community public health nurses (health visiting and school nursing) to prescribe from the Community Practitioners’ Formulary. This module is for you, if you are a student studying health visiting and school nursing and you learn through seminars, student-led discussions, learning sets and exposure to supervised prescribing experiences with your practice teacher in the practice placement.
You also carry out self-directed study based on the indicative content and an assessment of your own learning needs in relation to prescribing. You access e-learning through the site as a resource for you to keep a learning log of prescribing practice experience and develop a selection of case studies for analysis

Enhancing Leadership Skills in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing

You gain skills to critically evaluate your leadership philosophy and leadership abilities in the context of working within and across professional organisational structures.
You identify strategies to develop your leadership skills and behaviours that enable you to function effectively within clinical and professional practice and lead within collaborative working environments. You learn through seminars, student-led discussions and self-directed study.
You share your experiences of clinical leadership and organisational contexts to enable debate and examination of leadership styles and behaviours relevant for specialist community public health practice and working in a collaborative and social care context.

Enhancing Safe and Effective Practice in Health

You explore the many factors impacting on the health and wellbeing of children and their families in a variety of settings and life circumstances. You critically evaluate current policy and legislation, linking this to the protection of children and families throughout the module. You build on existing experience, to adapt your practice, knowledge and skills to the needs of children and families, providing a foundation for specialist community public health nursing (health visiting) practice in the community setting.

Evidence Appraisal

This module develops your understanding of the concept of evidence-based practice as a framework in which to explore different research methodologies. It helps develop key skills in critical thinking, academic writing and information retrieval and begins the preparation for the final-year community project.

Public Health in Practice

This module is shared by all fields of practice. You explore health, health needs assessment, health improvement and community development from a theoretical perspective and within the social, political and economic context. You apply the principles to your own field of practice. You learn through a combination of lectures, discussions, group work and experiential learning. You gain confidence and become an effective public health practitioner who can reflect, respond and contribute to the public health agenda.

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Independent Project

You develop your competence and skills in practice and demonstrate achievement of the SCPHN Standards of Proficiency through the Practice Progress File.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Theory encompasses a range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, problem-based learning scenarios, peer review and presentations. Your learning in practice placement is supported by developing a practice portfolio which includes self-assessment activities, learning contracts, and reflective dialogue and discussion.

How you are assessed

Assessment strategies include exams, case study analysis, reflective essays, a written assignments progress file and a dissertation. Practice is assessed through your practice assessment document, and developing the practice project through tripartite visits – here you, your practice assessor and your academic assessor meet to assess your progress and competence in practice.


Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to:

  • have 120 credits at certificate level and 120 credits at diploma level (or equivalent)
  • have a valid registration on Part 1 or Part 2 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council professional register (defined area of practice regulations apply)
  • be sponsored by an employing organisation that guarantees your supernumerary status throughout the course (see standards of proficiency for specialist community public health nurses, pp19-20, NMC, 2004)
  • have a nominated practice assessor who contributes to your teaching and assessment process, providing you with the opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills you need for complex and professional practice and to lead as a specialist community public health nursing practitioner.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements



Career opportunities

You have increased employment opportunities in the public health sector including public health nursing and health visiting.



2023/24 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

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Service user and carer involvement

Service users and carers support all aspects of our students' lifecycle from recruitment to graduation.

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