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This course will prepare practitioners to work in defined areas of community public health practice. You'll demonstrate achievement of the ‘Standards of Proficiency’ required by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC 2004) for Registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) Health Visitor.

During the course you will be exposed to the breadth and depth of public health working and demonstrate your ability to participate safely in the practice of Health Visiting. You will be prepared to lead and manage the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme (DH 2009) provision in collaboration with other health and early year providers.

The course is equally divided between theory and practice based study, with attendance required at BU. 50% of the programme is practice based where your learning will be supported by a Practice Teacher within your seconding NHS Trust.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2017, September 2018


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


1 year

Entry requirements:

Normally a relevant degree or equivalent (practice experience will also be considered); Part One or Part Two registration on the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) register; Secondment from your employing DHUFT. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 7.0 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. Your studies will be supported through a web-based learning environment, where additional resources, help and advice are signposted.

Applicants will need to apply via local NHS job adverts. Shortlisted applicants will be jointly interviewed by the NHS Trust and the BU Programme Leader.

Core units

  • Professional Role (Health Visiting): Develop critical insight into the complex specialist role of the SCPHN (Health Visitor) practitioner. Working in a practice setting, you will develop and demonstrate  the NMC proficiencies for assessing health needs and planning, delivering and evaluating evidence-based public health strategies which aim to reduce health inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of children, families and young people Safeguarding is considered as the overarching principle of the Health Visitor service offer.  The unit encompasses the V100 prescribing requirements and you will exit as an NPF prescriber.
  • Context & Scope of Public Health: An introduction to the scope of the current public health agenda. You’ll gain an understanding of national and international public health issues. The unit will build on your previous experience and knowledge of public health and can form a foundation for studying further units.
  • Exploring & Evaluating Evidence: Learn about the nature of knowledge and the various approaches to research and knowledge production. You’ll learn about different research methodologies and how to assess research carried out by others.
  • Public Health Leadership & Management (Health Visiting): Develop a critical insight into the strategic leadership and ethical management roles of the SCPHN HV practitioner. You’ll gain skills for evaluating evidence that underpins public health practice, giving you the ability to challenge gaps in contemporary literature, apply risk assessment and management strategies, evaluate the quality of service delivery and governance issues and show ethical management of self, people and resources. This unit assesses achievement of  the NMC (2004) proficiencies for Part three registration.
  • Public Health Management Strategies: Explore the ways in which public health strategy is executed in the area covered in the Context and Scope of Public Health unit. You’ll evaluate national public health strategies and interventions nationally and to place this in an international context. Through evaluation you’ll create strategies and solutions to public health issues.
  • Health Promotion & Partnership Working: Evaluate the role of partnership working in health promotion, considering the issues involved in health promotion and health promoting partnerships. You’ll examine the evidence base for health promotion and partnership working in public health practice and explore issues such as the role and function of different agencies, needs assessment, planning, execution and evaluation.

Top-up to a Master's

We offer a BSc and a PGDip route to completion. After completing the PG Dip, you can top-up your studies to a full Master's degree by enrolling on our MA Advanced Practice course. At the moment this study option is not funded through the strategic health authority (SHA) and so you would have to fund these additional studies yourself.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for Public Health with Professional Registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (Health Visiting).

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Selection criteria

For the PGDip Public Health with Registration as a SCPHN we are looking for applicants who:

  • Maintain current registration on Part 1 or 2 of the NMC professional register
  • Have a clear understanding of the role of the SCPHN within the pathway applied for
  • Are committed and motivated to complete the demanding programme
  • Have flexibility and personal skills to manage the demands of both academic and practice based work
  • Meet the professional entry requirements of both the University and the employing/seconding Primary Care Trust
  • Can articulate the vision for the 'new service model' for Health Visiting

Students on this course are expected to have a clear understanding of the SCPHN HV role they seek to pursue and therefore direct experience of working in Primary healthcare and community settings is advantageous. Students must possess or wish to advance their leadership and communication skills in order to learn and demonstrate strategic leadership qualities and also work collaboratively with other health and social care workers. Students on the course normally possess a first degree however some suitably experienced practitioners with the aptitude for higher level study will be considered.

Selection methods

Applicants should apply via the local DHUFT NHS Jobs adverts. Shortlisted applicants will be jointly interviewed by DHUFT service representatives and the BU Programme Leader. The academic application will follow your initial interview.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:

  • Possession of a degree or equivalent professional qualification.
  • Current registration on part one or part two of the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) register and that you have secondment from your employing DHUFT.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter this course, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Email our Programme Leader, Dr. Karen Rees.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  •  IELTS (Academic) 7.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent. 

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.


By completing this course, you will be satisfying the NMC criteria for registering for Part 3 of the NMC Register and will be qualified and prepared to work in the community as a health visitor. This role is in high demand and employment is highly likely.

Career progression may ultimately lead to you becoming a:

  • Health visitor
  • Academic researcher
  • Academic lecturer

Industries worked in

  • NHS (hospital and community)
  • Private and independent health care sector (nursing homes and private hospitals)
  • Education
  • Academic research

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Postgraduate Diploma, you can look into our range of Master's programmes.

How to apply

Applicants should apply via the local DHUFT NHS Jobs adverts. Shortlisted applicants will be jointly interviewed by DHUFT service representatives and the BU Programme Leader. The academic application will follow your initial interview.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions & specialist teaching facilities.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a hard copy/memory stick/ DVD
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service;
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, Faculty Librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/ improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our unilinx bus service operates in the local areas, offering a subsided travel rate. We also have a large number of bike storage facilities.
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more at on the SportBu webpages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Travel to placement is your responsibility; you may be able to reclaim costs from NHS Student Bursaries
  • Supplementary uniform supplies
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/ securing placements
  • Professional Body membership/registration post qualification
  • Internet access at discretion of your accommodation provider
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Other possible costs to consider

  • Replacement Student ID card- £10.00 (per replacement)
  • Cost of resit examination- No charge if examined at Bournemouth University, if examined elsewhere costs may be incurred at the Exam Centre
  • Cost of additional transcript results- £10.00 (per year of study)
  • Replacement certificate (Postgraduate and Diploma level students only)- £30.00 (per replacement)

Additional information

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