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    Faculty of Health and Wellbeing Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Nursing & Health

  • Start Date

    September, January

  • Course Duration

    PgDip: 1-2 years full time, 2 years part time MSc: 2 years full-time, 3-6 years part-time

  • Course Type

    MSc, PgDip

  • Course Fees


Studying on this course enables you to develop your knowledge and skills to work with children, young people, their families and carers to improve health and wellbeing.

You learn to develop a pragmatic public health philosophy for family healthcare and an evidence-based skill set applicable to the challenges of contemporary practice.

To meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards, your studies consists of 50% practice and 50% theory (alongside 100% attendance). We structure the postgraduate diploma to reflect the important balance of the practice elements, which are designated practice days or work-based learning. A 10 week consolidated practice block (in semester 3) enables you to work independently while remaining under the supervision of a practice teacher. The theoretical elements involve a mix of learning approaches including self-directed study days.

Another key aspect of your studies is to develop an understanding of the levels of accountability and responsibility you take on in these roles. You learn how to ensure public protection is developed to deliver safe and effective health improvements to individuals, groups and communities.

There are many opportunities on the course to share learning from your peers and other disciplines from across the primary /community care teams and services that work with children, young people and families.

When you start to put what you have learnt into practice, you benefit from strong partnerships with health, education and local authority organisations in the region.

The modern and diverse placements you go on are designed to meet the changing needs of children, young people and families, and may include placement with social services, education and a variety of organisations from the voluntary sector – foster collaborations with those that work alongside health visitors and school nurses.

You also complete a research-based module which provides a building block for further study from the exit award of PgDip to MSc qualification. The learning from the research module equips you to use policy and research to underpin and develop innovative practice and gives you the skills to frame a research question, take empirical research and write up an academic dissertation. If you successfully complete the PgDip, you can at a later date (pending additional funding and study) undertake a 60 credit dissertation module and gain an MSc qualification.

Experienced course teaching team

Experienced health visitor and school nurse lecturers deliver the course. As a student you learn from a highly motivated and proactive teaching team aiming to improve lives through excellence in professionalism. We ensure our students and the public benefit from a commitment to evidence-based education, application to practice and impact on quality of care.

Some lecturers are engaged in ongoing research and are publishing in peer reviewed journals with areas of expertise that include safeguarding, the child and families agenda, behaviour change and community development.

Four members of our teaching team are also Fellows of the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), a professional body which strives for excellence in the health visiting profession.

Successfully completing the course

  • gives you a deeper awareness of the need to maintain and develop your own competence and that of others in the changing context of health visiting and school nursing, with a specific focus on the leadership required to ensure high quality care and enhance service user experience.
  • develops and enhances your leadership skills to foster excellence in public health practice and shape services to meet the identified needs of individuals, groups and communities.

Gaining an MSc qualification enhances your employability in advanced and specialist roles available to health visitors and school nurses. These may include working in public health positions in local authorities or in advisory and health education positions in acute health care.

Study individual modules

You have the option to study individual modules from this course and gain academic credit towards a qualification. Visit our continuing professional development website for more information.

Professional recognition

This course is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Graduates are eligible to apply to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse - Health Visitor or School Nurse.

You must be registered with the NMC in order to practise as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse in the UK.

To access the full course and gain the NMC recognised qualifications, you need to be sponsored by an employing NHS organisation (hence have NHS contract for the length of the course). 

Course structure

Postgraduate diploma modules

  • family centred public health
  • developing therapeutic reationships
  • perspectives on safeguarding for SCPHN
  • evidence based public health practice
  • developing specialist practice
  • nurse prescribing (v100)
  • research methods for practice


  • dissertation (60 credits)


  • critiques/critical reflection
  • reports
  • essays
  • objective structured clinical assessment and examination
  • examinations
  • portfolio including prescribing workbook, reflection and practice assessment document
  • research
  • dissertation (MSc only)


You will enhance your professional and academic development on this course. Completing the course enables you to be registered with the NMC as a registered specialist community public health nurse - as either a health visitor or school nurse (SCPHN-HV or SCPHN-SN). It also enables you to be annotated on the NMC register as a community practitioner nurse prescriber. This course will also provide you with advanced skills in research.

As a health visitor or school nurse you will develop specialist skills and attributes to work in different health, social and educational settings. You gain experience of public health at an individual, family and community level, working with children, young people, families.

You can develop your career

  • in a specialist and/or consultant role - such as working with early interventions (parenting), homeless, asylum seekers, safeguarding, looked after children (LAC), domestic violence (DV), child sexual exploitation (CSE), public health.
  • practice educators, such as community practice educators or mentors
  • family nurse partnership nurse (FNP)
  • counsellor
  • sexual health advisor
  • management opportunities, such as - children’s services manager, head of health and social services
  • researcher in health, social care or education settings
  • overseas with the voluntary overseas service

Visit the Nursing (Public Health) MSc/PgDip page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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