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Public Health Nursing Practice: Health Visiting/School Nursing MSc 2015-16

At a Glance

Start date:
07 / 09 / 2015

3 years part-time
Also available 16 months full-time

Places Available:
35 (this number may be subject to change)

Course Type:
Full Time / Part Time

Entry Requirements
You must:
•  Hold current registration on parts 1 or 2 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Register.
•  Complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
•  Hold a first degree or provide other evidence of your ability to study at Master's level.
•  Be released by your current NHS employer or seek a training contract from a local provider organisation.

You may be eligible to gain accreditation for your prior learning towards this course.

Admissions Assistant
Tel: 01484 472561

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The course

We are proud that our course:
•  Offers a stimulating programme that will prepare you for professional practice in public health.
•  Has been acknowledged by our graduates and current students to have a supportive course team, who will provide you with the guidance that you need to achieve your potential.
•  Draws on the expertise of a number of external speakers with specialist knowledge in key areas such as maternal mental health, psychological interventions, commissioning of services and the Family Nurse Partnership, to supplement the teaching provided by the course team.
•  Provides you with excellent employment prospects and the expertise to work in a wide range of public health roles.

In 2011 the Department of Health (DH) pledged to increase the Health Visiting workforce and deliver a new and enhanced model of support to families. In addition the Department for Education (2011) highlighted the need for high quality services to improve outcomes for children. This course provides you with an unparalleled opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills in Health Visiting or School Nursing in order to make a real difference to the lives of children, families and the wider community.

This practice-centred course leads to:
•  Registration on Part 3 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Register as either a Health Visitor or School Nurse.
•  A recordable qualification with the NMC in Nurse Prescribing (V100).

You will develop a range of generic and specialist public health nursing skills such as health needs assessment and evidence based interventions with vulnerable groups, bid writing and project management, leading safe and effective public health practice and research skills in order to deliver a quality service to children, families and communities.

Course content

Year 1

+ Critical Appraisal of Research Literature

In this module you will be encouraged to develop your understanding of methodological design. You will study the critical appraisal of a variety of aspects of published quantitative and qualitative research in practice settings, and will consider the utilisation of your knowledge and skills in future career developments, through pursuing autonomous practice and agenda setting in your profession. You will be assessed through completion of a coursework assignment comprising of a critical appraisal of published qualitative and quantitative papers (worth 100% of module marks).

+ Operational Frameworks for Community Based Practitioners

In this module you will explore legal, professional and ethical determinants of practice and risk assessment in regard to community based practice. You will have the opportunity to support your reflexive practice by engaging with critical thinking, reflective practice and clinical supervision, and will engage in action learning groups in addition to attending lectures. You will be assessed through a seen exam on legal, professional and ethical determinants based on a practice scenario (worth 100% of module marks).

+ Practice 1: Health Needs Assessment in SCPHN Practice

You will have the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills around public health nursing, through practice teacher facilitated learning opportunities in clinical practice. Your study will be supported by tutor led workshops, providing you with the chance to develop a critical appreciation of the factors that influence health, as well as a thorough understanding of health data and how it can be utilised to inform practice. You will also be encouraged to develop skills in health-needs assessment, enabling you to identify priorities and set targets to address health inequalities. You will be assessed through coursework in the form of a written case study (worth 50% of module marks), a poster presentation (worth 25% of module marks) and a portfolio (worth 25% of module marks).

+ Targeting Risk and Vulnerability

In this module you will focus on the practice and interventions used by health visitors and school nurses when developing their public health practice. You will explore topics such as community development, public health policy and how it may be used in practice and family nurse partnerships, as well as have the opportunity to develop your knowledge of areas including maternal mental health nutrition and infant feeding, domestic violence, sexual health and substance misuse. You will also study areas of safeguarding, solution focussed therapy related to specialist community public health nursing practice, understanding risk and targeting vulnerable families. You will be assessed through coursework in the form of a presentation of a case study of interventions with a vulnerable child or family relevant to your area of practice (worth 100% of module marks).

Year 2

+ Leadership and Management for Healthcare Practice

In this module you will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge of leadership and management theories and strategies, enabling you to ethically manage people and resources and effect change. You will explore how healthcare services are developed and commissioned and evaluate the healthcare practitioner’s role in advocacy, lobbying and influencing healthcare provision. You will be assessed through coursework comprising a written report and critical appraisal (worth 100% of module marks).

+ Nurse Prescribing from the Community Practitioners Formulary (V100 Mode 2) and (V150)

You will have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, understanding and ability to prescribe safely, appropriately and effectively in your area of expertise, in accordance with the Community Practitioners Formulary. You will explore a range of topics including consultation, decision-making, clinical pharmacology, evidence-based prescribing, professional accountability, legal and ethical aspects, influences on prescribing and prescribing in the public health context. You will be assessed through coursework in the form of an electronic portfolio (worth 100% of module marks). Additionally you will also undertake one exam and one in-class test, which will be assessed on pass/refer/fail basis.

+ Practice 2: Service Development in SCPHN Practice

You will engage in a broad range of practice experiences in a number of different settings, providing the opportunity for you to develop an understanding of the breadth of specialist community public health nursing practice. You will spend a designated amount of time in your defined area of practice, Health Visiting or School Nursing. Workshops, action learning and tutorials will support you in developing your practice. You be assessed through two pieces of coursework, where you will demonstrate and synthesize innovative approaches to service design by a self-recorded presentation proposing a service development in practice (worth 100% of module marks.) Your presentation will be evaluated in practice and you will complete a portfolio of evidence to meet the standards for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2004).

+ Research Project Preparation

This module provides the opportunity for you to develop the knowledge and skills required to design ethical and feasible research projects relevant to your practice, role or academic studies. You will also explore the different aspects to designing a research proposal. Assessment will involve producing one piece of coursework (worth 100% of module marks), in the form of a research proposal which addresses a particular practice need within your clinical area.

Year 3

+ Project (Health Related)

This module involves the development of a working proposal, which may or may not be related to your place of work, facilitated with learning materials and procedural guidance made available electronically. In addition you will be required to attend regular agreed meetings with a named supervisor, who will be either a subject specialist or researcher in the field. You will be assessed through submission of coursework in the form of a project (worth 100% of module marks).


We work closely with our partner service providers and the Strategic Health Authority to ensure that you are provided with a high quality practice placement experience with a practice teacher. All of our practice teachers undertake NMC approved practice teacher preparation in order to ensure that they are effectively equipped to undertake their role. Your practice experience will be broad and varied, encompassing primary care, schools, homes and a range of public and voluntary sector settings to ensure the development of transferable and specialist public health skills.

Career opportunities

Over the past five years all of our graduates have successfully gained employment in their specialist area of practice (Health Visiting and School Nursing). In addition a significant number of our graduates have progressed quickly to more senior specialist public health roles such as working within the Family Nurse Partnership, Safeguarding Teams, Sexual Health and more senior leadership roles in public health.

Professional links and accreditations

This course is approved by the NMC.

Teaching and assessment

You will participate in taught sessions, workshops and seminars, which are aimed at supporting specialist application of theory to practice. You will also participate in student-led learning and inter-professional learning opportunities. Action learning is a key component of the curriculum and involves participating in a range of different small group activities using real practise issues, which aim to promote a deeper understanding of the subject and help you relate theory to your specialist area of practice. This strategy helps support the development of supportive relationships with your peers and facilitates team building and the sharing of ideas. This is supported by the use of the University’s virtual learning environment, which enables you to meet flexibly online.

You will study for the equivalent of two and a half days per week, one day at the University and one day in primary care with a designated practice teacher, plus additional time for study and practice. Assessment strategies are varied and include essays, a written report, the preparation of a bid for a proposed service and exams.

The professional qualification of Health Visitor or School Nurse is awarded on completion of taught modules (after 24 months).

How much will it cost me?

Information on course fees can be obtained from the Student Finance Office.

This course maybe eligible for funding from Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber. Detailed guidance on such funding arrangements is available in their Funding Guide.

Additional routes

Research degrees are also available in this area. Contact us for details. Interim Awards A Master's course is 180 Master's level credits, which would normally take one calendar year full-time study. Interim awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level or Postgraduate Diploma level should you decide to exit the course early. Please contact us for details of the credits required for these interim awards.

Other information

For advice and guidance on your postgraduate study options join us at the Postgraduate Open Day on Thursday 13 March 2014.

How to apply

In order to access the programme you must apply through NHS jobs for a training contract with a local provider organisation or alternatively secure a secondment from your current employer. If you are short-listed for interview you will be asked to submit an application to the University for a place on the programme. Interviews are conducted jointly with local provider organisations and the course team. Successful candidates will be offered a place on the programme and a training contract.

If you've been invited to interview, please complete the application form


Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.

Last updated Sunday 25 January 2015
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