Health Visitor


Health Visitors work in the community setting and visit parents or carers with new babies and young children in their own home. The aim to promote health and wellbeing and to tackle health inequalities and deprivation that leads to children and families being vulnerable and at-risk.

Health visitors are NMC registered nurses or midwives who have undertaken further study to become a health visitor. Health visitors in Scotland primarily work with infants and children under five years of age, and their families.


The Role(s)

Health visitors provide information, health advice and support to facilitate and empower parents to care for their children. They work with families in their home or in child health clinics and GP surgeries. Health visitors need good communication skills in order to engage and relate to people of all ages, or with different backgrounds or lifestyles. The family and health visitor relationship is a unique and important aspect of health visiting practice. In addition, health visitors are sometimes required to deal with distressing situations, such as child protection issues and bereavement.

Health visitors work with a range of health and social care practitioners including community nursing staff, school nurses, nursery nurses, GPs, social workers and allied health professionals.

Some duties of a Health Visitor include:

  • parenting advice and support
  • assessment of health and wellbeing
  • assessment of a child’s development
  • identifying vulnerability and risk factors
  • supporting parents and carers with physical and mental health challenges
  • promoting, supporting and safeguarding the wellbeing of children
  • understanding local public health issues and providing information on local services

Skills, Interests and Abilities

As a health visitor, you will need to be:

  • physically fit
  • confident
  • tactful
  • patient and persuasive
  • interested in health and social issues
  • able to interpret body language
  • able to remain calm under pressure
  • able to prioritise, supervise and effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities to staff

Useful abilities include:

  • leadership and managerial skills good oral and written communication skills
  • computer skills
  • good problem solving skills
  • strong organisational skills
  • being compassionate and sensitive
  • car driver with a current licence

Entry Requirements

To become a health visitor, you will need to be registered with the NMC as a first level nurse or midwife. prior to applying for an approved health visitor training programme.

  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • University of Stirling
  • Robert Gordon University
  • University of the West of Scotland

To gain entry to any of these courses, you need to be a registered nurse or midwife in parts 1 or 2 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) website. You should also be educated to degree level, although some universities will take previous academic credit or prior learning in to account.

For a full list of approved programmes, please visit the NMC website. Specific entry requirements for each programme vary from depending on the university, college or provider. You are advised to contact each individual provider to find out more.

Upon graduation, your university will update the NMC database, so you can record your qualification. Once your details have been approved, you will be sent a statement of entry to the register.

To apply for a role in NHSScotland as a Qualified Health Visitor (Band 6), you must be anCandidates must be registered as a nurse or midwife on either parts 1 or 2 of the NMC professional register. Candidates must be registered as a nurse or midwife on either parts 1 or 2 of the NMC professional regNMC Registered Specialist Community Public Health Nurse. Other qualifications asked for will vary depending on the requirements of the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific requirements.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

You will also need evidence of your good health and character, and background checks, such as the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Currently, there are no Modern Apprenticeships which would lead directly to a career as a health visitor.

Learning and Development

An induction and training package will be provided by the recruiting NHSScotland board allowing you to become familiar with the systems and services available. There will also be a wide range of ongoing training opportunities to develop your skills in a range of areas including:

  • child protection
  • advanced practice
  • teaching and supervision
  • management and leadership

As a Health visitor, you’ll be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date in order to maintain your registration to practice with the NMC. Career progression into clinical academic research or service management is possible.

Professional Bodies

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the governing body for nurses and midwives, ensuring their knowledge and skills are up to date. The NMC website also contains information about registration, training and professional standards for nurses and midwives in Scotland and the rest of the UK. 

www.nmc-uk.org

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM)

The Royal College of Nursing is a professional body and Trade Union which represents nurses and nursing. It seeks to promote excellence in practice and to shape health policies. Find out more on the RCN website.

www.rcm.org.uk