This page describes the work of health visitors, including information on entry requirements, training, and funding.
Health visiting - what is it?
A health visitor is a qualified and registered nurse or midwife who has undertaken further (post registration) training in order to be able to work as a member of the primary healthcare team. The role of the health visitor is about the promotion of health and the prevention of illness in all age groups
As a health visitor, you will undertake a range of work.
You may be working with mothers of young babies - advising on such areas as feeding, safety, physical and emotional development and other aspects of health and childcare.
You might also work with people of any age who suffer from a chronic illness or live with a disability. Your role here will include helping them to overcome difficulties they may face in coping with their illness or disability.
In order to train as a health visitor, you must first qualify as a nurse or midwife and have gained ideally at least two years practice.
You may find yourself working with people from any background. Working within a community setting – in people’s homes, as well as clinics, doctors’ surgeries and other medical centres – you will need to be well organised, confident and able to cope with potentially challenging situations – such as working with a homeless family. You will need to be able to work independently for most of your time, although you will work as part of a team of other health care staff.
Programmes are at degree level and are normally a minimum of one year in length full time or the part time equivalent.
For details of the courses available it is advisable to contact your local university.
Funding for training
Most health visitor students are seconded onto a programme by an employer, although a few people may fund themselves. In addition, information about funding and general information may be obtained from the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) and the Strategic Health Authority (SHA).
Some staff will go on to manage a team of health visitors or enter other management opportunities within the NHS.
Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association
33-37 Moreland Street
Tel: 0207 505 3000
Fax: 020 7403 2976
This article was originally published by NHS Careers