Postgraduate Diploma Public Health (Specialist Community Public Health Nursing)

Entry year
Course code
Health and Social Sciences
Glenside Campus and Plymouth
1 year full-time study, 2 years part-time study
Full-time, part-time
Programme leader
Joanne Seal

Health Visiting/School Nursing/Occupational Health Nursing

Page last updated 23 April 2020


You will need to secure a secondment opportunity or a studentship, underpinned by a fixed term contract from a Trust prior to applying. Check opportunities through the <a href=>NHS job website.</a>

The course has been designed to produce knowledgeable and skilled public health practitioners who are able to work with various client groups across different settings within the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Professional Code of Conduct (2008). This knowledge and skill development will be reflected in your ability to demonstrate achievement of the NMC Standards of proficiency for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (2004). Ten key areas of public health practice and domains 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 embraces a family/child/workplace centred public health role with individuals, families and populations, focusing 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, networking and developing services in conjunction with service users, other professionals and voluntary workers. This involves the capacity 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 the programme is to prepare specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN) students with the knowledge, skills and critical abilities to provide leadership and innovation in community health. The wider goals are to improve population health, in particular the health of children and families, and to prevent illness. SCPHNs graduating from the programme will have the community capacity building skills to support the development of better, more accessible community based health and well being services.

Return to Health Visiting

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

More information

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

For further information regarding Return to Health Visiting email HAS CPD or call 0117 32 81158.



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

During the course you will gain experience in a range of different settings and areas of professional practice through collaborative working and inter-professional learning covering 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 disadvantaged or vulnerable populations, 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 which will be completed over 12 weeks if on the full-time course or 24 weeks if on the part-time course.

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 for prioritisation of workload, development of proficiency, and fitness for practice as a safe, accountable and effective practitioner.

The course is 50% theory to practice with designated time in the University as well as in practice with a co-ordinating Practice Teacher/Mentor.

Level 3 Module titles include:

  • Principles of Evidence Based Public Health
  • Public Health and Health Promotion
  • Professional Perspectives in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing
  • Leadership and Enterprise
  • V100 Prescribing Practice
  • Promoting the Health of School-aged Children in the Community
  • Workplace, Health and Wellbeing

Optional modules include:

  • Working Therapeutically with Families
  • Sexual Health
  • Mental Health and Well-being of Children and Young People
  • Issues in Child Protection
  • Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace

Additional online modules available include:

  • Using Health Research
  • Building Community Capacity

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 will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

A range of teaching and learning methods are used including formal lectures, seminars, enquiry-based and on-line 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.

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

Study time

To facilitate learning in practice you will be allocated a practice teacher who is qualified in your chosen practice area, health visiting, school nursing, sexual health or occupational health.

Underpinning study themes include:

  • Critical reflection on practice and learning
  • Self-evaluation and professional development planning
  • Leading teams and managing change
  • Multi-disciplinary team working
  • Interprofessional and inter agency working
  • Need assessment, planning and evaluation of practice
  • Service development
  • Group working and teaching
  • Critical evaluation and utilisation of research in practice
  • Critical evaluation of policy and its implementation in practice

Computer skills are vital for your academic studies. At UWE computing is an integral part of your course - many lecturers make lecture notes and materials available online, and some modules will require you to use information technology (IT) to help you undertake and present your work. IT facilities are available on all campuses. At the main Frenchay Campus there is 24 hour access to computing facilities, and the Department offers help and support throughout your course. Prior to commencing your course you may find it helpful to familiarise yourself with some core IT skills:

  • Basic word processing
  • Storing and retrieving files
  • Communicating via email
  • Searching the web for information, e.g. online shopping, booking a holiday

There is also a range of information and resources that includes interactive exercises to support study skills on the Department of Health and Applied Social Sciences website.


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. The practice placement is organised by the returnees, supported by UWE.

Modules are assessed by a range of methods including case studies, oral presentations, professional practice portfolios and written examinations.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.



Students will have secured a placement appropriate to their chosen SCPHN field via secondment or sponsorship from a health organisation.

Study facilities

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

The library on the Glenside Campus 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.

The Interprofessional Simulation Suite provides excellent opportunities for the demonstration and practice of professional competencies for health and social care students.

Information Technology provision is in the form of multimedia laboratories, smart boards and innovative projects such as 'multicasting' to deliver teaching material.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.


Careers / Further study

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

  • Register as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse
  • Register as a Nurse prescriber (if you have completed the V100 element of the course)
  • Enhance and build on previous professional qualifications and practice
  • Develop public health knowledge and skills
  • Enter a career in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing


There is currently no published fee data for this course.

Supplementary fee information

Secondment/Sponsorship - the Health Education South West may fund courses for employees of NHS Trusts and some independent organisations.

This usually means that:

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

You should contact your manager/training manager for further information.

The government has announced that it is reintroducing maintenance grants from September 2020. Visit full-time student funding for more details.


Entry requirements

Students must have the following:

  • PG Dip applicants will require a 2:2 Honours Degree either in nursing or a health related subject.
  • The route onto the programme is to secure a secondment opportunity or a studentship, underpinned by a fixed term contract from a Trust. The Trust will then pay you on a band five scale 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.¬† Trusts will be advertising these opportunities in the near future on therefore we would advise you to check this site regularly.
  • In securing a sponsored or seconded place from a NHS Trust or Community Organisation, all students will need to have a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) status and a satisfactory Occupational Health status.

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

How to apply

Once a practice placement has been secured from a Trust, please apply using the online link 'Apply for this course'.

Further details can be sought from the Programme Leader and/or CPD Unit.

For further information