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.
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 OpportunitiesThere 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 Career Information
If you would like to know more about a career as an Health Visitor related facts, statistics, articles and websites.