NQHV: Time for a change

05 July 2019

My student health visitor journey began in May 2017.


As a student nurse, I had enjoyed a placement with HVs and, despite that being a number of years ago, it was always a role I had thought about, so I was very excited that an opportunity to apply for a place locally had turned up.

I joined the health visiting team after seven years in acute adult services, accident and emergency/outpatient department, and latterly a surgical ward. A lot had changed over the years in acute care – and also in my personal life – so the time felt right for a new challenge.

Following a successful interview, I joined the health visiting team as a community staff nurse and my starting date for university was confirmed for 4 September 2017. I was excited to embark on my new challenge, but also nervous at leaving the acute setting, my current job and everything I knew.

When I started university, I remember the feelings of self-doubt surrounding the academic work. I had completed my first degree in 2010 and the academic work for specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN) (health visiting) was now at master’s level. While I enjoyed my practice placement and soon found myself in a routine of working and studying, the study was very intense and I found it important to develop some sort of work/life balance as a way to keep me motivated and focused for the year ahead. I was very lucky to have a supportive husband and family who encouraged me and kept me grounded when I needed them most!

Thankfully, I found myself working in a team of HVs who had an abundance of knowledge and experience for me to learn from. Nonetheless, it could be quite overwhelming. I felt I had lost my identity as a trained, registered nurse and at times I questioned myself: Would I make a good HV? How would I ever get to the stage where I had all this experience?

All experience counts

I began to remember that I had many transferable skills from my previous roles as a staff nurse. And on entering my consolidation period I started to feel more confident in my own abilities. I also knew that I would be supported by an excellent team of HVs.

Following completion of my course and registration on the SCPHN NMC register, I felt a sense of pride in the hard work I had put in to allow myself to start the next chapter of my career as a qualified HV, and I continued to build my caseload.

However, I still felt apprehensive about the complexity of some of the cases and my lack of experience for the transition from trainee HV to HV. But I was very fortunate that I had regular clinical supervision and could talk to my colleagues in the office – at any time – about anything I was unsure of from my visits, which has allowed my confidence to grow.

My career as an HV has only just begun and I can honestly say that I really enjoy my job and the excellent team that I work with. I am looking forward to the years ahead, building my caseload, increasing my knowledge and widening my experiences.  

What I’ve learned 

  • If you are unsure of anything, always ask! No question is silly.
  • Reflecting on experiences on a daily basis will allow you to grow and develop as a practitioner.
  • Always prioritise your work, and work within the limits of your practice, with the support of your team and continuing supervision.

Want to share your newly qualified experience? If you would like to write on any aspect of your training, practice or personal journey, please email [email protected]