Postgraduate Diploma Public Health (Specialist Community Public Health Nursing)

Entry year
Course code
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Glenside Campus and Plymouth
1 year
Full-time; starts January
Programme leader
Dawn Odd

Health Visiting/School Nursing/Occupational Health Nursing

Page last updated 5 September 2023


Accreditations and partnerships:

The Postgraduate Diploma course has been designed to produce knowledgeable and skilled public health practitioners, able to work inclusively with client groups across different settings within the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code of Professional Standards (2018). You'll reflect this knowledge and skill development by demonstrating your achievement of the NMC standards of proficiency for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (2004).

The NMC standards include four key domains which require a practitioner to search for health needs; stimulate an awareness of health needs; influence policies affecting health and facilitate health- enhancing activities in different public health settings. The course delivers knowledge and skills linked to the Public Health Knowledge and Skills Framework.

The course embraces a family/child/workplace-centred public health role with individuals, families, and populations, and focuses on improving health and tackling health inequalities. The approach requires you to work within a dynamic socio-cultural and service provision context across traditional boundaries, to network and develop services in partnership with service users, other professionals, and the voluntary sector. You'll learn to lead, assess, work collaboratively, evaluate public health provision, and accept responsibility and accountability for the safe, effective, and efficient management of that provision.

This course is for people who wish to register on the third part of the NMC register as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse: Health Visitor, School Nurse, or Occupational Health Nurse. The course requires effective registration on Part 1 (Nursing) or Part 2 (Midwifery) of the NMC register.

The aim of our course is to prepare specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN) students with the skills and knowledge to provide leadership and innovation in community health. Our wider goals are to improve population health, in particular the health of children and families, and to prevent illness. As a SCPHN graduate, you'll have the community capacity building skills you need to support the development of fair, inclusive and ever-improving community-based health and well-being services.

You'll need to secure a secondment opportunity or fixed term contract from an employing organisation before you apply. You can find opportunities on the NHS jobs website.



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

During the course you'll gain experience in a range of different settings and areas of professional practice through collaborative working and inter-professional learning.

You'll cover the following areas:

  • In settings and with age groups that are central to the responsibilities for the defined area of practice, health visiting, school nursing or occupational health nursing.
  • Working with diverse populations, individuals and families facing multiple disadvantages, health inequalities and factors that contribute to health and wellbeing.
  • Working with age groups considered as either important or that may be a potential area of responsibility even if not central to the areas of responsibility.
  • Completing 60 days of consolidated practice within your defined area of practice to be completed over 12 weeks.

The practice element of the course is divided into two parts, taught and consolidated.

The taught practice element includes 15 days alternative practice experience, where students get the opportunity to gain an insight and understanding of services provided in settings or with population groups that would not be central to their pathway.

A period of consolidation provides an opportunity for you to focus on your specific profession, building on the previous experiences developed through the course and in practice. This period allows time to prioritise your workload and development your proficiency, as well as fitness to practise as a safe, accountable, and effective practitioner.

The course is 50% theory and 50% practice with designated time at the University in directed study, as well as time in practice with an allocated practice assessor who will co-ordinate and support your learning.

You will study the following modules:

  • Principles of Evidence-b Based Public Health
  • Public Health and Health Promotion
  • Professional Perspectives in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing
  • Leadership and Enterprise.

Plus, one of the following optional modules:

  • V100 Prescribing Practice
  • Promoting the Health of School-aged Children in the Community
  • Workplace, Health and Wellbeing.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we'll inform you.

Learning and Teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods including formal lectures, small group seminars, enquiry-based and online learning, project work, individual self-directed study, and assignment preparation. Students are encouraged to draw on their own and colleagues' existing experience in the learning process. We provide learning materials and experiences which offer diverse viewpoints, and challenge students to reflect on how their values and opinions impact on their professional practice. We strive to cultivate an inclusive, compassionate learning environment on the course and work closely with our partner organisations to support you.

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

To facilitate learning in practice, you'll be allocated an assessor who is qualified in your chosen practice area: health visiting, school nursing, sexual health, or occupational health.

Core study themes include:

  • critical reflection on practice and learning
  • self-awareness and compassionate communication
  • self-evaluation and professional development planning
  • leading teams and managing change
  • multi-disciplinary team working
  • inter-professional and inter-agency working
  • needs assessment, planning and evaluation of practice
  • equitable service development
  • group working and teaching
  • critical evaluation and utilisation of research in practice
  • critical evaluation of policy and its implementation in practice.

IT skills are vital for your academic studies. At UWE Bristol, IT is an integral part of your course - all of your learning materials are available online via the Blackboard virtual learning environment, lectures and seminars may occur virtually, and all modules will require you to use information technology to help you undertake and present your work.

You'll benefit from fantastic IT facilities on all of our campuses. On our main, Frenchay Campus we have 24/7 computing facilities, and the Department provides support throughout your course. Before you start your course, you may find it helpful to familiarise yourself with some basic IT skills, including:

  • basic word processing
  • storing and finding files
  • communicating via email and video conferencing
  • searching the web for information, e.g. online shopping, booking a holiday.

We also have a range of information and resources, including interactive exercises to support study skills available via our library.


We assess our modules by a range of methods including case studies, oral presentations, project work, professional practice portfolios, written assignments and exams.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

The Postgraduate Diploma Specialist Community Public Health degree is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which means when you graduate, you can register with the annotation of Health Visitor, School Nurse or Occupational Health Nurse.


Our students will have secured a placement appropriate to their chosen SCPHN field whether as a secondment or sponsorship from a health organisation.

Study facilities

Our Department is superbly equipped with an extensive range of teaching and learning resources across four campuses.

Our Glenside Campus library is one of the best health and social care libraries in England with a huge selection of books, journals and audio-visual materials including access to specialist health and social care packages.

Our Inter-professional skills simulation suite provides excellent opportunities for us to demonstrate and you to practice your professional competencies as a health and social care student.

You'll benefit from our multimedia laboratories, smart boards, and the use of virtual learning environments to deliver teaching material.

Find out more about our facilities and resources.

Get a feel for the Nursing and Midwifery facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.

Return to Health Visiting:

Our UWE Bristol Return to Nursing Practice Course, which includes Health Visiting, takes around four months, and consists of a specialist module and work to help you achieve clinical competencies. The module takes place over five study days, and includes a variety of approaches including interactive discussions, seminar work, tutorials, lectures, and visits.

If you wish to return to health visiting, you will complete this theory module and your practice hours and achievement of competence will be demonstrated in the SCPHN field. This means you'll have a public health nursing placement within health visiting. When you have successfully completed the course, you'll be able to restore your registration to both part one and part three of the NMC Register.

The assessment is a 2000-word reflective assignment based on a learning contract negotiated to individual needs. Practice will be undertaken to meet the NMC requirements for returning to practice within an appropriate supervised practice area in local NHS Trust.

We assess our modules by a range of methods including case studies, oral presentations, professional practice portfolios and written exams

View our full glossary of assessment terms.

For more information, please contact us:

Changing Field of Practice:

If you already hold an active registration as a SCPHN, either as a Health Visitor, School Nurse or Occupational Health Nurse and would like to work in another field of practice as a SCPHN you can apply to undertake a 20-credit evidencing work-based learning module at Level M so you can practice in another field.To do this, you'll need to be supported by an employing organisation so you can complete a minimum of 10 weeks in practice supported by a qualified practice assessor and compile a portfolio to evidence your learning.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


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Campus and facilities

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Careers / Further study

On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • register with NMC as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse
  • register as a Community Practitioner Nurse prescriber (if you have completed the V100 element of the course)
  • enhance and build on your previous professional qualifications and practice
  • develop your public health knowledge and skills
  • start a career in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing.


There is currently no published fee data for this course.

Supplementary fee information


Health Education England may fund courses for employees of NHS Trusts and some independent organisations.

This usually means that:

  • Health Education England will pay all or part of the tuition fee (and placement fee if applicable)
  • you'll continue to receive a salary or training/cost of living allowance
  • your employer provides placements.

We recommend you contact your manager/training manager for further information.


Entry requirements

You will need to have the following:

  • Active first level registration on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) professional register.
  • Post Graduate Diploma applicants will require a 2:2 Honours Degree either in nursing or a health-related subject.
  • To get onto the course, you need to secure a secondment opportunity or a studentship, supported by a fixed term contract from anemployer. Your employer will then pay you a salary/cost of living allowance pro-rata for the period that you are on the course, as well as provide you with a practice placement, which is essential for entry onto the course. Organisations will soon be advertising these opportunities on therefore so we advise you to check this site regularly.
  • To secure a sponsored or seconded place from an NHS Trust or other employer, all students will need to have a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) status and a satisfactory Occupational Health status.

Our recruitment to this course is informed by Health Education England's Values Based Recruitment Framework and the purpose of this is to ensure that we recruit students whose individual values and behaviours align with the those of the NHS Constitution.

How to apply

As soon as you've secured a placement from a Trust, you can apply using the online link 'Apply now'.

Follow us on Twitter @UWEhasCPD.

For further information