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Career profile: Health visitor (Public health nurse)

health visitorThinking of becoming a health visitor? Get the lowdown on what the job involves, what qualifications you need and how long it takes to train.

A what?

A health visitor is a qualified nurse who has undertaken further training to work as a member of the primary healthcare team. Health visitors visit a range of sick or vulnerable people and offer practical support and solutions to give their patients a better quality of life.

On the job

Health visitors lead a very varied working life. Their clients range from the elderly and long-term ill to parents with young children. Health visitors also arrange child immunisation programmes and organise special clinics and drop-in centres for parents to bring their children to.

Due to the variety of people they see and challenges they encounter, health visitors need to have a broad base of skills and knowledge. They often need to come up with practical advice and information on issues such as heating, diet and exercise but will also need counselling skills to help people with emotional problems.

Course entry requirements

In order to train as a health visitor, you must first qualify as a nurse or midwife and, ideally you would have at least two years’ experience of working in the field.

Entry requirements vary depending on the course and the institution, so check before applying. You will usually need around five GCSEs plus two A-levels (or Highers) for a degree programme.

Applicants who left full-time education some time ago may be required to give evidence of successful recent academic study, such as a QAA accredited access to higher education course or equivalent.

What does the training involve?

Programmes to become a health visitor are at degree level and are normally a minimum of one year in length.

Related links

(Information taken from NHS Careers)