Health visitor

public health nurse
Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would visit people in their homes and give them information, practical care and support to help them stay healthy.

Health visitors are experienced and qualified registered nurses or midwives.

You’d visit people of all ages and backgrounds. You’d focus on people who need special help, such as new mothers and their babies or elderly people.

You could:

  • Advise older people about health issues
  • Advise new mothers for example about the hygiene, safety, feeding and sleeping of their baby
  • Counsel people on issues such as post-natal depression, bereavement or being diagnosed HIV positive
  • Coordinate child immunisation programmes
  • Organise special clinics or drop-in centres

You’d listen to your patients and try to understand what issues may be causing them distress. It is important to be tactful, and it will be useful if you can interpret body language and other non-verbal communication.

The information, practical care and support you can provide will help people cope with difficulties they are experiencing. You’d work closely with other agencies such as social services and local housing departments.

A good understanding of child protection issues is also important.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Health visitor page on the NHSScotland Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

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

Environment

You would usually cover the geographical area of a GP practice and spend most of your time visiting clients in their own homes. As part of your role, you may also run group support sessions in surgeries and health centres.

Travel

A driving licence would be needed for most jobs.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Persuading people
  • Caring for people
  • Being tactful
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Working on your own
  • Using computers

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You need a degree in nursing (SCQF Level 9/10) and two years' experience working as a Registered Nurse before taking a postgraduate qualifications (SCQF Level 11) in public health combined with supervised on-the-job training. 

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF Level 11) you will usually require a nursing degree and relevant experience. 

For entry into a nursing degree you'll normally need three or four Highers plus National 5 qualifications. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Maths (required by many courses)
  • Science subjects (required by many courses)
  • Care
  • Social studies such as psychology

You will also need

  • To pass a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Disclosure check
  • Evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B.

Helpful to have

You may need a driving licence.

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding of health and wellbeing, such as:

  • Skills for Work Health Sector (SCQF Level 6)
  • Health and Social Care (SCQF Level 4/5)
  • SQA Wellbeing Award (SCQF Level 3-5)