Health visitors are nurses or midwives who have had additional training in community public health nursing to become specialist community public health nurses. Health visitors lead the Healthy Child Programme (0 to 5 years old) and are fundamental in making sure every child has the best start in life.
Your role will routinely include working with families with a new baby, from late in the antenatal period up to 5 years of age. You will use your expertise and training to identify needs, determine risks and work with clinical and public health colleagues to ensure the right support is provided as early as possible. You may work with at-risk or deprived groups, such as people experiencing homelessness and refugees.
You will usually provide individual support and advice to families in their homes but you will also facilitate clinics and groups with different professionals including early years practitioners, children’s social care professionals, GPs, school nurses, allied health professionals, and voluntary services, to support the needs of children and families.
There are opportunities for health visitors to progress to other specialist roles to provide intensive support to families with additional support needs and help parents to be the best they can be in order to meet the physical, social and emotional needs of their child.
Our team also consist of community staff nurses (registered in any field) supporting the health visitors to deliver the healthy child programme and there are development opportunities in-house to support those who wish to progress to undertake the specialist community public health nurses-health visiting (SCPHN- HV) programme.
Your day-to-day role may vary from area to area, but will typically include:
- supporting parents during their transition to parenthood and in the weeks following the birth of their baby
- providing support and advice for the initiation and duration of breastfeeding, infant feeding and healthy eating for young children
- assessing children’s growth and development needs
- delivering health reviews to assess children’s growth and development needs, including the two-year health review and to be ready for school
- promoting the best start in speech, language and communication including identification of additional support to be ready to learn
- supporting maternal and infant mental health
- supporting healthy weight and healthy nutrition conversations to prevent childhood obesity through behaviour change techniques
- advising on minor illness, home safety, safer sleep and accident prevention
You will also complete holistic assessments in partnership with the family, which builds on their strengths and identifies any difficulties they have with meeting their child’s needs. You’ll often be the first to recognise whether a child is at risk of harm and a very important part of your role will be working with other health and social care partners to:
- safeguard and protect vulnerable children
- identify those at risk
- support local safeguarding arrangements and ensure the voice of the child is considered health visiting