Health visitors are experienced and qualified registered nurses or midwives who work to promote good health and prevent illness in the community. They spend most of their day visiting people in their homes, especially new mothers and children aged under five.
As a health visitor you would provide information, practical care and support to help your clients cope with the difficulties they are experiencing. You would work with a broad section of people in the community and your duties would often include:
You would work closely with other agencies, such as social services and local housing departments.
You would typically work 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, some evening work may be necessary to run clinics and drop-in centres. Part-time and flexible working hours are often available.
You would usually cover the geographical area of a GP practice and spend most of your time visiting clients in their own home. As part of your role, you may also run group support sessions in surgeries and health centres.
Health visitors can earn between £24,800 and £33,500 a year. Team managers can earn up to £39,300.
Extra allowances may be awarded for additional responsibilities, location and length of service.
You will usually need around two years' experience as a qualified midwife or nurse (any branch) before you can begin an approved health visitor training programme and work as a health visitor.
To qualify as a registered nurse or midwife you need to complete a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved degree or Diploma of Higher Education. For more information on routes into nursing and midwifery, check the relevant job guides.
Training as a health visitor involves taking a (shortened) degree or postgraduate course leading to registered specialist community public health nurse (health visiting).
Courses are run on a one-year full-time or two years part-time basis. You will find a list of approved programmes on the NMC website.
As a qualified nurse or midwife in the NHS, your employer may financially support you through your health visitor training. You can get more information about funding from the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA), your employer or the Health Learning And Skills Advice Line.
During training you will cover topics such as:
- Community Practice
- Public Health
- Health Promotion
- Social Policy
You will also spend time on placements in the community, working under the supervision of an experienced health visitor.
You will usually need a driving licence to work as a health visitor.
As a qualified health visitor, you would need to keep your skills up to date and continue to develop your level of expertise in order to maintain your professional registration.
If you have had a break from working as a nurse and your registration has lapsed you will need to take a return-to-practice course. Courses are available throughout the UK and include a mixture of theory and clinical placements. You can contact your local NHS Trust for details, or search the NMC website for a list of approved programmes.
As an ambulance technician you would respond to accident and emergency calls, as well as a range of planned and unplanned non-emergency cases. You would usually work in a team, providing support to a paramedic during the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients at the scene of an incident and during hospital transfers.
You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.
A health visitor needs:
With experience you could progress to team manager, community matron or a management role within another department of the NHS.
You could also go into nurse education and training.
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
23 Portland Place, London W1B 1PZ
Tel: 020 7333 9333
PO Box 376,
Bristol BS99 3EY
Tel: 0345 60 60 655
Queens University of Belfast,
School of Nursing and Midwifery,
Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road,
Belfast BT9 7BL
Tel: 028 9097 2233
University of Ulster at Jordanstown,
School of Nursing, Shore Road,
Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim BT37 0QB
Tel: 08700 400 700
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.