LJMU rises to Government Health Visitor challenge

21 December 2011

Liverpool John Moores University is set to help with the Government target to increase the number of registered health visitors by offering a unique opportunity for postgraduates with caring experience. Those with a health related degree and relevant experience now have a new career path option for nursing and health visiting through a Master of Science (MSc) in Nursing.

Currently it is only registered nurses who can apply for a one year Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Programme to become a health visitor. Now, students on the postgraduate MSc route will be able to do this programme after two years of nurse training, which is set to increase the bottom line numbers to train more nurses to be health visitors.

Through production of a personal portfolio, students will be able to obtain accreditation for year one of the nurse training programme, they will then train for two years to become either a registered child or adult nurse and be awarded an MSc in Nursing. Following registration as a nurse they will then be eligible train for a further year to become a registered health visitor. This is the only stand alone course of its kind to be offered in the North West and was launched for the first time in this academic year.

The Government plans to increase the number of health visitors by 4,200 by May 2015. Merseyside Trusts are seeking to train and recruit approximately 115 more health visitors by March 2015, which will secure a modern and universal health visiting service that gives families and young children a positive start in life. This is alongside work taking place nationally in which health visiting is being redesigned to deliver the Healthy Child Programme.

Lorraine Burgess, LJMU lecturer in Nursing and Primary Care Practice said:

"It has been shown that interventions in the early years of a child’s life significantly improves their life chances and reduces health inequalities. Health visitors are at the heart of this service delivery, but to become a health visitor you first have to become a registered nurse. This new programme recognises and builds upon the existing knowledge, skills and life experiences of potential students. We have a strong personal tutor system supported by a number of practice educators within the trusts. LJMU is committed to developing graduates who are fit to practice, fit for purpose and are equipped to face the challenges of valuable and rewarding professional careers."

Michelle Ormrod, September 2011 MSc Adult Nursing Student commented on the course:

"The completion of this MSc course will enable me to acquire the skills required to improve or manage the health needs of vulnerable people. It will also provide me with an opportunity to engage with both the service user and their family, encouraging trusting relationships and rewarding experiences."

Bethan Harland, September 2011 MSc Adult Nursing Student said:

"Being a health visitor to me is all about helping families in a holistic way. I want to be the person that puts their mind at ease, the person they can ask any question and the person they know always has time to help."

LJMU is holding an Open Day for the next intake on 26 January 2012, 5:30 to 7:00pm, 5th floor Tithebarn Building, 79 Tithebarn St L2 2ER. For further information please call 0151 231 5839 or email L.Bainbridge@ljmu.ac.uk  

Page last modified by Corporate Communications on 21 December 2011.
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