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How is the identity of the health visitor changing?

  • Comments (2)
  • Article: Baldwin S (2012) Exploring the professional identity of health visitors. Nursing Times; 108: 25, 12-15.

Key points

  • The role of health visitors has been in flux since its conception in the mid-19th century
  • Health visitors’ role has changed over the years and this has affected the profession’s identity
  • It has been linked with nursing despite the different origins of the two professions
  • There is a complex relationship between health visiting and public health
  • Agenda for Change has also impacted on the profession

Let’s discuss

  • The title “health visiting” has been criticised for not being explicit in describing what the title-holder does, compared other professional groups where the roles are clearer, such as nurses and teachers. How would you describe the components of the health visitor role?
  • The author of this paper outlines how the health visiting role has evolved, changed and expanded over the years. How has this affected the professional identity of these practitioners?
  • The role of the health visitor has often been linked to with nursing despite the different origins of the two professions. Why do health visitors need a nursing qualification?
  • The health visitors’ role overlaps with a number of other professional groups such as social work and practice nurses. Do these groups pose a threat to the identity of the health visitor role? Explain your answer.
  • The government aims to recruit 4,200 new health visitors by 2014. What impact with this have on the profession and its professional identity?
  • Comments (2)

Readers' comments (2)

  • Anonymous

    4.200 health visitors by 2014.?? Who are they recruiting - bursary students - whereas applicants have always had to jump through hoops to get into health visiiting - 2 yrs ward experience and preferably extra qualification in midwifery or kids nursing and at least a years community experience now they finish their nursing qualification at 21 and with NO EXPERIENCE at all can hop straight into health visiting training and be a band 6 12 months later. i personally feel they are being set up to fail - hv is very challenging - particularly the child protection element. Health visitors need to have the kind of confidence and knowledge developed by life experience and nursing practice and will not be respected by clients if they dont have it. The impact of the recruitment drive on the profession will be detrimental. We are lowering standards and will have an inferior workforce. Mistakes will be made - child abuse will go undetected or unchallenged. Newly qualified health visitors will leave in droves when they are expected to get on with it alone.

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  • Anonymous

    The BSc public health practice in specialist community nursing (or community nursing degree as it is sometimes know) is a one year course for healthcare professionals who want to move their career forward. It is only open to registered nurses and midwives and places are dependent on obtaining sponsorship from the National Health Service. This programme is designed to develop your knowledge and skills; helping you to provide evidence-based public health practice to several different groups.

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