A Health Visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who works as part of a primary health care team, assessing the health needs of individuals, families and the wider community. They aim to promote good health and prevent illness by offering practical help and advice.
Every day is different for a Health Visitor, with responsibilities including home visits, running support groups for parents and working with a range of local children’s agencies and professionals.
As a Health Visitor in London, you can make a real difference to children, families and communities. You will play a fundamental role in the development of the Healthy Child Programme, preventing social exclusion and deprivation, reducing inequalities and tackling important public health issues.
The role primarily involves supporting new parents and pre-school children. In some areas Health Visitors work with elderly people and people who suffer from a chronic illness or live with a disability. Health Visitors are linked into GP practices and work with registered patients which enables them to assess the health needs of the broader community, for example through smoking cessation.
Every family with a child under five years of age has a named Health Visitor. They play a vital role in a child's health from pregnancy to school years and beyond. Through this the Health Visitor liaises with midwives, social workers, School Nurses, doctors etc. Health Visitors support the health and well being of the whole family.
Health Visitors have the opportunity to work flexibly within the community and are a crucial part of the healthcare team.
Examples of what a Health Visitor does
- Implementing and assessing specialist healthcare interventions and supporting government initiatives to tackle child poverty and social exclusion, such as Sure Start Children's Centres
- Liaising with members of their primary care team such as GP, Community Children's Nurses
- Advising and informing new parents on childcare issues and tailoring health plans addressing individual parenting and health needs of a family
- Delivering the Healthy Child programme and running parenting groups
- Managing parent and baby clinics at surgeries, Health centres and children's centres and running specialist sessions on areas such as baby massage, exercise and child development
- Working collaboratively with action groups in the local community
Providing emotional support regarding issues such as postnatal depression and domestic violence
Identifying the health needs of the community in order to contribute to the development of a community health profile
Encouraging members of deprived or vulnerable groups to participate in their own health care planning, e.g. the homeless
Running groups dealing with a specific health aspect e.g. smoking cessation, supporting self-help groups or those with particular needs, such as working parents
Promoting adult health by offering advice, practical support and group work on a range of issues including healthy eating, stress management, sexual health and drugs and alcohol awareness
Agreeing local health action plans and managing and leading teams involved in their delivery
Diagnosing minor conditions and prescribing low-level medication
Maintaining and updating client records
Collecting, collating and analysing data to ensure that specific health targets are being met
Planning and setting up health promotion events and activities
Communicating with external agencies, including other healthcare professionals, social services, local housing departments, the police, teachers and probation officers