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Postgraduate study
Nursing & Health

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing)
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 (school nursing) and is ideal if you are a nurse or midwife looking to become a school nurse.

You gain the knowledge and skills you need to take a public health approach to healthcare provision. As a nurse or midwife completing this course, you will transition into the role of public health nurse so that you can contribute positively to the new public health agenda and gain employment as a school nurse.

The course outcomes reflect the Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing and encapsulate the ten principles which underpin public health nursing. It is a practice-centred course, delivered on a 50% taught theory and 50% practice basis over 52 programmed weeks for the one-year full-time route. You are allocated a practice assessor by your sponsoring organisation who facilitates your learning in practice and is responsible for the assessment of your competence in practice.

You explore a range of modules, gaining an understanding of the evidence which underpins and supports practice and develop the knowledge and skills to enable you to practice within contemporary school nursing. 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

Our School feedback policy (word - 278kb)
Our School reference policy (word - 276kb)


Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Community Practitioner Prescribing (V100)

You consider issues important for safe and effective prescribing, and develop a reflective approach to practice. You will explore the principles of prescribing and, alongside the taught component, you undertake self-assessment to determine your ability to develop safe and effective prescribing practice. You will work closely with your practice teacher to develop prescribing experiences and complete a portfolio of evidence which your practice teacher verifies.

Enhancing Leadership Skills in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Practice

You evaluate the concept of professional leadership and its application in the context of specialist community public health (SCPHN) nursing. You will evaluate key professional leadership theories and organisational culture in relation to your own area of specialist practice. A strong emphasis within the module will be quality improvement and how leadership skills and qualities influence achievement of sustained change within SCPHN practice.

Enhancing Safe and Effective Practice in School Nursing

You explore the role of the school nurse within a variety of contexts whilst appreciating safe and effective clinical practice. A significant focus will be on public health outcomes for children and their families, critically exploring these across the life course. Current legislation and policies impacting on the health and wellbeing of children and families will be critically evaluated with a strong emphasis on safeguarding children and adults.

Evidence Appraisal, Public Health in Practice

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.

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

You learn the theory through a range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, problem-based learning scenarios, peer review and presentations. Your practice placement is supported with the development of a portfolio, which includes self-assessment activities, learning contracts and reflective dialogue and discussion.

How you are assessed

You are assessed in a variety of ways through examinations, case study analysis, reflective essays, written assignments progress file and a dissertation. Practice is assessed by the progress file and the development of the practice project, through the mechanism of tripartite visits where you, your practice teacher and your academic mentor meet to assess your progress and competence in practice.


Entry requirements

You 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 (NMC) 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

On completing the course, increased employment opportunities are available to you in the public health sector including public health nursing and school nursing.



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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