Being a health visitor has characteristics that makes it different from many other nursing roles. You don’t wear a uniform, you manage your own caseload, you visit clients in their own homes and rarely carry out a nursing procedure.
It can be difficult for nurses to contemplate so much change to the way they work.
So the lack of certainty about health visitor jobs highlighted last week in Nursing Times’ exclusive report will not help nurses to make that move into health visitor training. Few nurses will be interested in training for a year if they think there will not be a job at the end of it.
What a lost opportunity, because health visiting is an interesting and fulfilling role that offers nurses a different way of working.
When I cycle through my old patch in North London I vividly remember families in my caseload, including the large family I visited who were told their baby with a physical disability would not walk. The day she took her first steps at the age of two years her father rang me to come immediately to see and celebrate this momentous moment in their family life.
These relationships are what makes health visiting so rewarding.
If the government wants to carry out its strategy to increase the number of health visitors by 4,200 over the next four years it will need to find a way to ensure that the jobs are there for the new health visitor trainees.