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Postgraduate study
Nursing & Health

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


Course overview

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). If you are a nurse or midwife looking to become a health visitor, this course is ideal for you.

A public health approach to healthcare provision requires particular knowledge and skills.

This course educates you, as a nurse or midwife, to become a public health nurse so that you can contribute positively to the new public health agenda.

The course outcomes reflect the Nursing and Midwifery Council standards for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing, encapsulating the ten principles underpinning public health nursing.

This is a practice-centred course. It is 50% taught theory and 50% practice based over 52 programmed weeks for the one-year full-time route and 104 programmed weeks for the two-year part-time route. You are allocated a practice teacher by your sponsoring organisation – they facilitate your learning in practice and are responsible for assessing your competence in practice.

During the course you explore evidence appraisal. This helps you understand the evidence which underpins and supports practice. You explore public health and practice, developing your relevant knowledge in relation to the current public health agenda. You also address leadership in health visiting practice. You investigate the health needs, protection and surveillance of the child and family in a health visiting context – and community practitioner prescribing. Your practice experience enables you to link your theoretical knowledge base to practice. There is a ten-week period of supervised practice at the end of the course.

Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Advancing Community Practitioner Prescribing

This module prepares specialist community public health Nurses (ie health visiting and school nursing) to prescribe from the Community Practitioners’ Formulary. It is undertaken by students studying health visiting and school nursing and utilises seminars, student-led discussions, learning sets and exposure to supervised prescribing experiences with their practice teacher in the student’s practice placement.

There will also be periods of self-directed study based upon the indicative content and an assessment of your own learning needs in relation to prescribing. E-learning via the site will be used as a resource for you to keep a learning log of prescribing practice experience from which you will develop a selection of case studies for analysis

Advancing Health Visiting Practice

Within this module 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. This module builds on existing experience and enable you 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.

Advancing Leadership and Management in the Context of Specialist Practice

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/professional practice and lead within collaborative working environments. A range of learning strategies are used; seminars, student-led discussions and self-directed study.

You are encouraged to 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.

Advancing Public Health

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

Contemporary Issues in Public Health

This module is designed to enable you to study in-depth a range of contemporary and emerging issues in specialist community public health nursing practice and their potential implications for practice. You will synthesise, critically evaluate and robustly challenge and debate new and emerging areas of public health nursing and their legal and ethical dimensions and potential implications of the advances for specialist community public health nursing practice. You will then build on these skills through learning sets to facilitate developing your own personal decision-making skills and practice through action learning sets.

Developing Research Projects

You gain the knowledge and skills you need to design and manage a primary or secondary research audit or evaluation project that’s relevant to your practice. You also cover research governance and ethics, and prepare for applying for ethical approval or release. And we prepare you for your dissertation if you choose to progress to the master’s course.

Evidence-based Practice

You enhance your skills as a professional practicing evidence-based health care. This module also helps your transition to postgraduate study. You develop key skills that are transferable to subsequent modules, such as literature searching and using advanced critical appraisal skills as an integral part of decision making in health and social care. You also learn how to apply the principles of change management to implement evidence in practice. We use a variety of approaches to teaching including e-learning, formal lectures, seminars and practical activities.

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Practice

You develop your competence and skills in practice and demonstrate achievement of the SCPHN Standards of Proficiency through achievement of 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 progress file and developing the practice project through tripartite visits – here you, your practice teacher and your academic mentor 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 teacher* 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.

*In accordance with the NMC (2008) Standards to support learning and assessment in practice.

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.



2021/22 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

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  • Not available part-time

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