Professional Practice

PGDip Specialist Community Public Health Nursing

  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: One Year
  • Start Date: September 2024

We regularly review our courses to ensure we are offering you the best educational experience. In line with the Nursing & Midwifery Council expectations for Post Registration Education Standards, this programme is currently being revalidated for September 2024 entry – for re-accreditation by the NMC during the course of this academic year. The information below may be subject to changes to meet the requirements of the NMC as the accrediting body. Changes will be confirmed in the programme specification which will be made available to new applicants on this page as soon as it is available.

If you want to build your career in health visiting or school nursing, this course gives you the in-depth grounding you need.
Approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the course covers all the areas you need to qualify, and make a difference, in one of these fields, supporting children and their development and helping to give them the best start in life. This course is for qualified nurses with a degree. You will be sponsored by a health organisation or trust and achieve a postgraduate diploma, while gaining advanced skills and knowledge in an area of public health nursing you want to specialise in.
I would highly recommend this course to any nurse or midwife looking to become a Health Visitor. The course is extremely well structured; the modules for the programme are interesting, relevant, and link in appropriately to the practice element of the course. The course lead Carole is fantastic; she is always happy, keen to teach and engages students in her lectures. She also goes above and beyond to support students. It is apparent the University has built positive working relationship with the local Trusts, ensuring a seamless transition between University and Practice.
Toni Bull Health Visitor, Buckinghamshire NHS Trust
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Why study this subject?

As a school nurse, you will play a vital role working with children and young people, and act as an important link between home, school and the community with the ultimate goal of improving wellbeing.

On the other hand, as a health visitor, you would be working with children from birth to five years old and their families, providing much-needed support to families, assessing their health needs and monitoring growth and development.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

You will benefit from an excellent standard of teaching provided by staff from the University and practice, in partnership with our NHS Trust partners. As well as this you will be taught by lecturers who have a wide expertise in the field. Our lecturers also maintain close links with practice, ensuring that the programme is up-to-date with modern practice.

We offer continuous support throughout the programme, and you will receive personal tutoring and benefit from a high level of research within the teaching team. Your personal tutor will help guide you through your studies, support you with your academic development and give advice when needed.

Highly regarded by students and practice partners for our teaching in this area, BNU has a strong reputation for its health visitor and school nurse training. You will work with highly skilled academics, who have worked in the community – and spend 50% of your time in practice yourself, consolidating and deepening your understanding and skills.

I developed so much both as an individual and as a professional during the course. It has reignited my spark for academic learning. I became more reflective in both myself and my practice. I feel more confident to go forward in my career and make positive changes. It has also significantly improved my communication skills with both clients and professionals. All of the modules and academic learning covered within the course have been hugely relevant and have developed my knowledge and enabled me to become a competent Health Visitor.
Toni Bull Health Visitor, Buckinghamshire NHS Trust
Toni Bull profile photo

What facilities can I use?

We have a range of state-of-the-art facilities for you to access, including our Nursing Simulation Labs, multistorey library and IT suites. Students will be able to access our full range of support services, including the Learning Development Unit for skills and study support, the Careers and Employability Team, Student Finance Team, Accommodation and Counselling Services.

What will I study?

Studying at postgraduate diploma level will hone your critical thinking and leadership capabilities, so that you become highly skilled at caring for children in the community, and leading large teams of nurses in one of these much-needed areas of practice.

Learning about key aspects of contemporary community nursing, you will study topics such as protecting children and the vulnerable, and supporting developmental needs through their lifespan, to effective caseload management. You will also learn to take a more strategic view of community healthcare provision, drawing on the latest research, ideas and policy.

The course tutors make excellent use of outside speakers to really enhance your learning experience. It was fantastic to undertake the course alongside the District Nurses, Community Children’s Nurses and School Nurses. It really highlights the importance of working closely alongside other community specialities and gaining a greater understanding of each other’s roles. In my opinion, the academic element of the course is essential to build competent and confident Health Visitors on qualifying, and BNU most definitely delivers this to an extremely high standard.
Toni Bull Health Visitor, Buckinghamshire NHS Trust
Toni Bull profile photo

How will I be taught and assessed?

Specialist Community Health Nursing is an area of nursing practice which has a focus on assessing and reacting to, the health needs of young people aged 0-19 and their families. Working in the community requires specialist knowledge, skills and behaviours that are distinct from working in the hospital setting.

This course covers all the areas needed to meet the NMC professional requirements for specialist community public health nurses, with a focus on either health visiting or school nursing.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • understand the complexities of working in a community setting
  • better appreciate strategic influences on policy
  • take a critical approach to identifying the health needs of individuals, groups and populations in the community
  • consider aspects of safeguarding children, young people and their families. As you may be working with at risk or deprived groups, it is important you recognise when a child is at risk of harm and what action to take
  • develop leadership, innovation and management skills to be able to contribute to successful health outcomes for children
  • show you have the necessary skills for working in the community, so you can qualify for the third part of the NMC register.

The course makes use of a range of flexible learning and assessment approaches, to ensure you learn in the way that suits you best. We will be looking, in particular, at how well you apply the theory to your own nursing and leadership practice.

You will benefit from strong support throughout, with personal and link tutors at the University, and a practice teacher supporting you to learn in your trust.

As well as spending half your time in practice, learning opportunities at the university such as case study-type simulations will enable you to develop your skills in a safe environment. You will also work closely with students from other community nursing courses at BNU, building your experience of working in a multi-professional way.

By the end of the course, you will have developed the higher level of skills and knowledge you need to become a leader in this specialist field of nursing. Your e-portfolio will provide evidence of this, to validate your learning with the NMC.

Study this course full time for a year. You will spend two days a week at university and two days a week in practice.

Useful Documents

Postgraduate Diploma Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

You need to be registered as a level 1 nurse on the appropriate part of the NMC register.

You also need to be working in UK clinical practice, so this course is just available to UK students.


This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

Year 1 Modules

Enhancing Specialist Community Public Health Practice

Philosophical Enquiry in Practice

Critical Perspectives in Child and Adolescent Development

Leading Innovative Healthcare in the Community Setting

Critical Issues in Mental Health Across the Lifespan

Critical Aspects of Safeguarding Vulnerable Children and Adolescents

Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing V100

What are the tuition fees

  • Home, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £9,600 per year

Additional course costs and financial support

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.
You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

If you have any questions about the fees above, contact our Enquiries team by calling 0330 123 2023 or emailing

What are my career prospects? 

As a graduate of this course, you will be well equipped to move forward as a team leader in either health visiting or school nursing. Your career trajectory may also include management, practice teaching or teaching in higher education.

Course leader

Carole Trespaderne
Carole Trespaderne
  • Senior Lecturer
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A head and shoulders shot of a smiling Susan Perryman wearing a land yard with a black jumper
Susan Perryman
  • Senior Lecturer
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A head shot of a smiling Sarah Thirtle stood face on looking directly into the camera
Sarah Thirtle
  • Senior Lecturer
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Head shot of a smiling Annette Palmer stood face on looking directly into the camera stood in front of a white wall
Annette Palmer
  • Senior Lecturer
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Melanie Hayward
  • Associate Professor – Education: Quality Assurance and Enhancement
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