Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting or School Nursing) PG Dip

Postgraduate (1 year full-time)



Theory: one to two days per week, 9am–4pm; practice: one to three days per week, 9am–5pm. To be confirmed for January 2021.

Please note, this course is open to UK and EU applicants only, as it is a work-based course.

Apply via NHS jobs

UK and EU students

Applications should be made to local Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) who will undertake joint selection with us. Visit NHS jobs to find suitable vacancies.


Specialise in improving the health and wellbeing of children, family and populations. Combining theory and practice, our course will prepare you for part three Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) registration on completion.

Full description
The support during this course has been exemplary. The whole team, lecturers and administrators, have always been willing to assist myself and other students


You’ll be qualified to work as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse, with skills that are also applicable to other roles in public health, safeguarding or primary care and community agencies.

Work placements

Placements range from one to three days a week, with a final ten-week, five-day-a-week period of consolidated practice at the end.

Links with industry and professional recognition

Our course is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Research in Public Health Theory
    This module will enable students to critically review and systematically evaluate key relevant contemporary literature and the application of this to Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) practice. It will foster students with the complex knowledge and skills to be able to search for current information which underpins the delivery of SCPHN care. Students will develop enhanced skills to critically appraise the literature to derive relevance and meaning from their findings. This will draw into practice the evidence on which public health practice is delivered. Research, policy and professional standards will be comprehensively synthesised to embed a deep understanding of literature underpinning SCPHN. The ability to link these concepts into the practical world of SCPHN will be developed to enable the student to maintain a contemporary knowledge. This knowledge base which the service delivered can be justified in order to work proactively within a SCPHN context. The module will consider concepts of information validity utilising learning sessions which incorporate research methods and the skills and knowledge to develop advanced scholarship in the comprehension of literature quality. Sessions will cover: Data collection, qualitative and quantitative research, epidemiology, data base searching, ethical, cultural and gender issues reliability, validity, bias and research interpretation. Students will evaluate methodologies and develop critiques which may lead to the proposal of new hypothesise. Students will be encouraged to read literature related and applied to this specialist public health area including legislative and health literature that encourage ethical argument and debate. This literature will be drawn from disciplines such as; social, psychological, medical sciences and education in addition to those of the SCPHN. Students will systematically and creatively review, evaluate and synthesise current policy drivers related to public health reflecting on the need for a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach to working with children and their families. Students will be encouraged to explore literature at the forefront of SCPHN theory that is in place to inform SCPHN practice. Summative assessment for the module will be a 1,500 word research critique which addresses a public health topic at an individual, local or national level and a practice competency document. Within this document students will be required to achieve a pass at the required competency level whilst reflectively demonstrating their critical analysis and evaluation skills via 1,200-word detailed reflection(s) from practice.
  • Leadership, Commissioning and Public Health Practice
    This module will develop leadership skills to a strategic level, enabling practitioners to become effective advocates on behalf of children and families. Furthermore, this module will develop the practitioner's knowledge base with respect to the commissioning of services in order to ensure that a quality service is provided to children and their families.
  • Fundamentals of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting or School Nursing)
    The Department of Health (DOH, 2009) suggests that the foundations of a healthy and fulfilled adult life are laid in childhood and adolescence. Neuro-scientific and genetic advances have enhanced our understanding of physiological and psychological childhood development and how this can be both promoted and damaged. It is imperative that the children’s public health workforce is adequately equipped with the knowledge, skills and understanding to deliver the Healthy Child Programme (2009). This theory/practice module focuses on the universal components of the progressively universal framework for practice delivered to infants, children, young people and their families, beginning in early pregnancy, right through into early adulthood, as described in the Healthy Child Programme (DoH 2009). This module will focus on the key issues around health and developmental reviews within the 0-19 framework in order to enable SCPHN students to develop an understanding of the identification/assessment of and management of, abnormalities or deviations from the norm. In order to ensure that practitioners are prepared effectively to work within the challenging and dynamic arena of children’s public health, this module will explore the background theories that are integral to working with children, young people and their families, and communities. Furthermore, this module will recognize, apply and communicate aspects of care and highlight the compassionate skills required in relation to the key content listed in 6b. Summative assessment for this module will comprise of an essay totalling 1,500 words, and a practice competency document. Within this document students will be required to achieve a pass at the required competency level whilst reflectively demonstrating their critical analysis and evaluation skills via 1,200-word detailed reflection(s) from practice.
  • Enhanced Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting or School Nursing)
    This theory/practice module will allow you to analyse the knowledge and skills required to assess and manage vulnerability and risk to children, adults, families and communities. You’ll also be equipped to develop the competence and confidence in order to work proactively within the HCP Universal Plus service-delivery context (DOH 2009). This module will build on the knowledge and expertise gained in the ‘Fundamentals of SCPHN Module’. It’ll also encourage you to demonstrate analytical knowledge of legislative requirements for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. It’ll require you to consider innovative approaches to individual and organisational risk management. You’ll be encouraged to develop advanced communication skills utilising strategies such as motivational interviewing, compassion and solution focused therapies, enabling parents/carers to better manage behavioural and emotional challenges within the context of vulnerable families. You’ll review, evaluate and reflect on current policy drivers related to public health and safeguarding practice, reflecting on the need for a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach to working with children and their families.
  • Critical Policy Review
    This module is designed to help students develop a strategic, political and ideological grasp of contemporary public health policy in relation to professional and ethical health care practice. The review enables practitioners to critically analyse existing health and/or social care policy and its impact on the planning and delivery of local services to children and their families.
  • Consolidated Practice
    This module is specifically related to the Postgraduate Diploma Specialist Community Public Health Nursing course (Health Visiting or School Nursing). It is a ten- week period at the end of the course which will enable you to consolidate your education and competence in your field of practice. A work-based based learning approach will be used and supported throughout the delivery, and you'll be expected to explore theories and reflect on your experiences in order to integrate theory and practice. The learning component of the delivery is supported by VLE (virtual learning environment). It is anticipated that this method of learning facilitates the development of transferable lifelong learning skills. You'll also commit to completion and submission of all assessed work to meet the NMC (2004) Standards for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing before commencing the Consolidated Practice Module. You will, however, be monitored on a fortnightly basis by a Practice Teacher who will continue to report on your progress, completing the appropriate documentation which is a pass/fail element of the course.
  • Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing - see notes below
    Please note: If you are a Health Visiting student and have already completed a nurse prescribing module that is recorded with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), your sponsoring Trust or healthcare organisation and the University may suggest you complete the optional Work-Based Learning module. If you are a School Nursing student, dependent on your Trust or healthcare organisation's preference (after discussion with the University) it may be suggested that you replace the Nurse Prescribing module with one of the optional modules listed on this course page. The Nurse Prescribing module will prepare specialist community nurses to prescribe safely, appropriately and cost effectively from the community practitioners formulary for nurse prescribers. The module is an alternative option to Non-medical prescribing and is undertaken with allied health professionals.

In some cases, you will be able to replace the Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing module with either of the optional modules. You will choose one of the two optional modules below.

Optional modules (subject to availability)

  • Understanding Contraception and Sexual Health (School Nursing only)
    The module will develop your understanding of contraceptive and sexual health. You’ll explore all methods of contraception, gain an insight into sexually transmitted diseases and learn about the impact of sexuality on the individual, the family and wider society. You’ll consider contraception and sexual health care across the entire reproductive lifespan as well as thinking about access for those with disabilities. You’ll look at factors which influence human sexuality and the surrounding legal and ethical issues.
  • Work-Based Learning
    This module requires you to select a specialist area in the practice setting appropriately targeted to their learning and development during the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) course. By means of a case study approach, relevant contemporary literature will be confidently and creatively examined and synthesised. This knowledge will be comprehensively applied within this specialist area of practice using advanced scholarship skills. The case study will be built on a minimum of 20 days in practice enabling you to link theory and practice.

You may be able to replace the Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing module with one of the two above optional modules. This is only applicable to you if you already have a Nurse Prescribing qualification recorded with the NMC (health visiting students) or if the Nurse Prescribing module is not relevant to your future qualified role (school nursing students). Should this be the case, you will need to get agreement from your organisation and from the university. Modules are subject to change.


You’ll be assessed through a variety of methods, including, essays, case studies, a critical incident analysis, competency based portfolio and a critical policy review.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students starting 2021/22 (per year)


UK students starting 2021/22 (part-time, per year)


Funding for postgraduate students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships and bursaries, which provide extra financial support while you're at university.

This course is fully funded
Places on this course are fully funded by Health Education East of England and the sponsoring employers.

Entry requirements

Loading... Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

Due to national restrictions all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses.

Teaching options

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic all our students can choose to either study face to face on campus or online only, and students are able to change their mode of delivery at given dates throughout the trimester.

For on-campus teaching, we offer at least four hours face-to-face teaching related contact time per week for our undergraduate full-time courses, supported by online learning using our established online learning systems. The number of contact hours vary course by course, and you can contact us for further information. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however we remain committed to delivering face-to-face teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment.

In the event that there are further changes to the current restrictions that are in place due to the pandemic, we may need to move some courses online only at short notice to remain in line with Government guidelines and ensure the continued safety of our students and staff.

View the impact of the current restrictions.

Suggested courses that may interest you

Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist (Data Analytics) Degree Apprenticeship MSc

Part-time, work-based, degree apprenticeship postgraduate (2 years)

Blended learning, Cambridge


Computer Games Development (Computing) MSc

Full-time, part-time postgraduate (12 months)



Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online