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Course content

This course is designed to enable you to study at academic Level 7 (Masters) whilst also preparing you to become proficient practitioners within specialist community public health nursing/practice and work at specialist practitioner level within complex primary health care arenas.

This course provides a programme of preparation and learning for registered nurses and midwives who wish to become registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) on Part 3 of the register as a SCPHN Health Visitor (HV) or School Nurse (SN) (NMC 2004).

You will have the opportunity to gain the additional qualification of Community Practitioner Nurse Prescriber with the Nursing and Midwifery Council upon successful completion.

There is a focus on work based learning throughout which ensures clear integration of practice based learning, assessment and university based work. A shared learning approach is encouraged with inter-professional modules and integrated working incorporated within the overall programme structure.

The programme will be delivered by a range of teaching methods such as core lectures, group work, online activities, use of case studies and directed learning approaches. Shared learning with other professionals will be a focus of this course and you will be encouraged to develop a critical, evaluative approach to the knowledge which underpins present day specialist community public health practice.

Course content

This post registration award prepares you for a career in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing at both strategic and operational levels. The PG Dip consists of six compulsory modules, two are practice focused modules underpinned with key theoretical concepts and run for the duration of the course enabling theory to inform practice and vice versa. A consolidating period of practice equivalent to at least ten weeks at the end of the programme is incorporated into this programme as per NMC SCPHN Standards (2004).

All modules are linked to service delivery and developments within Primary Care/Public Health and are intended to develop core skills in research, practice development, public health activity and education. 50% of the programme is in a practice environment which is commensurate with the specific annotation students are following: for example Health Visiting or School Nursing. This element of the programme is supported by designated practice teachers who have undertaken a formal education programme to fulfil this role.

Course modules (16/17)

-Leadership: The People Challenge
-Principles and Perspectives of Health Promotion
-Research Methods in Health and Social Care
-Therapeutic Communication Interventions
-Leading Public Health Practice
-Advancing Children, Young People and Family Well-being 1 and 2
-Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing Formulary
-Comparative Health Systems
-Political Agenda: Effect on Service Delivery

Methods of Learning

The course comprises of 45 programmed weeks for full time students (50% of which is in practice, 50% in theory), or no more than 208 weeks for part time students which is in accordance with NMC 2004 SCPHN regulations. An initial theory (university based) induction programme is timetabled at the beginning of the course, followed by a practice induction period.

Following this induction, the course integrates both practice and theory, so for those students following the full time course, they can expect to be in practice for part of the week and at university for the remainder of the week. One study day per week is also timetabled whenever possible. There are block weeks in practice which usually occur at least once per term, and block study weeks which, wherever possible, are timetabled to coincide with preparation for assignment submission dates. The final ten weeks of the programme is spent consolidating practice as per NMC standards (2004).

Students following a part time route will, under normal circumstances, attend university for one day per week, practice for the second day and have half a day study time each week. Block weeks will be timetabled as above, but will be for two and a half days per week.

The course is delivered by a wide range of blended teaching and learning activities including lectures; enquiry based learning; online activities; workshops; tutorials and group work. Specialist practitioners and service users input into the teaching elements of the course whenever possible.


Attendance is through either a full or part time route which will be negotiated with the sponsoring Provider Service.


This programme comprises of a range of assessment strategies which enables students to demonstrate knowledge, synthesis and analysis in a variety of forms. Assessment strategies include portfolios, exams, vivas, reports, essays, audio taped interventions and presentations alongside a practice proficiency document. The aim of the assignment programme is not only to test knowledge and skills but also to develop these skills (for instance, the ability to present to a group of people). Students can expect between one and three items of assessment per module.

Facilities and Special Features

-Registered qualification with the NMC on part 3 of the register.
-Practice based learning.
-Robust mentorship programme in place to support students in practice.
-Shared learning on some modules.
-Sponsored programme through local NHS Trust​.
-This course is supported by designated practice teachers within the clinical environment.
-The university offers a wide range of facilities to support your learning.


The specialist nature of this award will enhance graduates’ opportunities to extend their responsibilities and undertake new roles in practice within clinical teams. On successful completion students will be registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) on the third part of the register and will be able to apply for band 6 and 7 posts as Specialist Community Public Health Practitioners working within a wide variety of settings.

Work Experience

50% of the programme is in a practice environment which is commensurate with the specific annotation students are following, for example Health Visiting or Children’s or Young People’s Nurses (School Nursing).

This element of the programme is supported by designated practice teachers who have undertaken a formal education programme to fulfil this role.

Visit the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing PGDip page on the University of Northampton website for more details!





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