Current educational challenges for specialist community public health nurses following a health-visiting pathway and the consequences of these challenges for public health
The UK Standing Conference on Specialist Community Public Health Nurse Education represents the interests of those most intimately involved with specialist community public health nurse (health visitor) (SCPHN (HV)) education in higher education institutions across the UK. This paper summarizes issues currently affecting the education of SCPHN (HV)s and the delivery of health visiting and public health nursing services across the UK. Difficulties in recruitment, numbers of practice teachers and tensions created by the gap between expected and actual practice roles for health visitors are discussed. This discussion takes place in the context of the Programme of Action on Health Visiting, which was launched in 2009 by the Department of Health in England. Recommendations for action by HEIs are made in response to the difficulties identified in particular. Although this paper applies to all the UK SCPHN education programmes the majority of these are in England, which has resulted in a focus being placed on challenges in England.