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How to become a Health Visitor

health visitor careers

What does a Health Visitor do?

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 under age five. They also work with other sections of the community including the elderly, disabled, and long-term sick, offering practical support and advice to help people overcome their disabilities.

Their duties can include:

  • advising the elderly on health issues
  • advising new mothers on issues such as hygiene, safety, feeding and sleeping
  • counselling people on issues such as post-natal depression, bereavement, or being diagnosed HIV positive
  • co-ordinating child immunisation programmes; and organising special clinics or drop-in centres.
Health visitors work in collaboration with other agencies such as social services and local housing departments.

What's the working environment like working as a Health Visitor?

Health visitors usually work 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday - this can include some evening work at clinics, drop-in centres and support groups. Flexible working hours and part-time work are likely to be available.

Health visitors usually cover the geographical area of a GP practice and spend most of their time visiting clients in their own home. They may hold clinics and support groups in GP surgeries or medical centres.

A driving licence is essential.

What does it take to become a Health Visitor?

To be a health visitor, you should:

  • be able to get on well with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • be interested in health and social issues
  • have excellent communication and listening skills
  • be tactful, patient and persuasive
  • be able to interpret body language and other non-verbal communication
  • be responsible and have good time management skills
  • be able to work on your own initiative
  • have the emotional maturity to deal with distressing issues.

Health Visitor Career Opportunities

There are opportunities for health visitors all over the UK, in rural and urban communities.

Promotion can include managing a team of health visitors, or taking on a management role within another department of the NHS. There are new nurse consultant posts at the top of the profession.

It is also possible to move into nurse education and training. In Scotland, public health nurses are involved in the wider aspects of community health planning. In addition, a new role of family health nurse is being piloted.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Health Visitor that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association
33-37 Moreland Street
London
EC1V 8HA
Tel: 020 7780 4000
www.amicus-cphva.org

England
NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

NHS Careers
PO Box 376
Bristol
BS99 3EY
Tel: 0845 606 0655
www.nhscareers.nhs.uk

Nursing and Midwifery Admissions Service (NMAS)
Rosehill
New Barn Lane
Cheltenham
Gloucestershire
GL52 3LZ
Tel: 0870 112 2206 for general enquiries
Tel: 0870 112 2200 for application packs
www.nmas.ac.uk

Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS)
Rosehill
New Barn Lane
Cheltenham
Gloucestershire
GL52 3LZ
Tel: 0870 1122 211
www.ucas.ac.uk

NMC
23 Portland Place
London
W1B 1PZ
Tel: 020 7637 7181
Registration contacts
Overseas: 020 7333 6600
General: 020 7333 9333
www.nmc-uk.org

Scotland
NHS Education for Scotland
Careers Information Service
66 Rose Street
Edinburgh
EH2 2NN
Tel: 0131 225 4365
www.nes.scot.nhs.uk

Wales
Health Professions Wales
2nd Floor, Golate House
101 St Mary Street
Cardiff
CF10 1DX
Tel: 029 2026 1400
www.hpw.org.uk

Northern Ireland
Queens University of Belfast
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Medical Biology Centre
97 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7BL
Tel: 028 9097 2233
www.qub.ac.uk

University of Ulster at Jordanstown
School of Nursing
Shore Road
Newtownabbey
Co. Antrim
BT37 0Q
Tel: 08700 400 700
www.ulster.ac.uk

Courses to help you become a Health Visitor