University of Chester

Programme Specification
Specialist Community Public Health Nursing - Occupational Health Nursing BSc (Hons) (Single Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Science (Single Honours)

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing - Occupational Health Nursing

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing - Occupational Health Nursing

University of Chester

University of Chester.

Sites as determined by Faculty of Health and Social Care, Including Warrington, Chester ,Leighton and Clatterbridge campuses and also the Isle of Man Education and Training Centre

Professional/ Specialist/ Community/ Advanced Practice (Nursing & Midwifery)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year (full-time programme) or 2 years (part-time programme)

7 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Quality Assurance Agency.

National Occupational Standards

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Post-registration BSc Specialist Practice Subject Assessment Board

Wednesday 1st May 2013

The overarching aim of this programme is to enable students to plan, deliver and implement public health within a dynamic and diverse range of settings.

The specific programme aims are:

  • To facilitate the development of a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse who will be fit for practice, fit for purpose and fit for award.
  • To offer a dynamic and quality educational experience relevant to the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing role.
  • To enable graduates to work in a critical, analytical and reflective manner, and to provide them with the opportunity to acquire lifelong learning skills.
  • To be cognisant of the holistic nature of specialist community public health nursing practice and to gain knowledge, expertise and the individual qualities necessary to work as autonomous, competent practitioners within unpredictable professional environments.
  • To enable graduates to innovate and apply contributions to the evidence base of practice.
  • To develop the students’ skills in collaborative practice and the partnership delivery of care.
  • To provide an understanding of the complexity of Specialist Community Public Health nursing, whilst being cognisant of the conflicting priorities and ambiguous situations when working across a variety of settings.
  • To develop leadership and facilitation skills, which will enable students to complement best practice in service delivery.

Knowledge and Understanding

The ability to:

  • Critically discuss key concepts, principles, theories and policies in community and public health practice.
  • Critically review the uniqueness of their own community role and the diversity of other inter-disciplinary roles, and how they can be utilised to empower individuals, groups and communities.
  • Demonstrate an evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their community role and the dissemination of information.
  • Critically analyse professional, legal and ethical issues.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

The ability to:
  • Demonstrate independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically.
  • Recognise, evaluate and respond to community policy initiatives at individual, local and national levels.
  • Access, analyse and process evidence-based information applicable to community practice.
  • Utilise analytical skills when evaluating professional work from both professional and service user perspectives.
  • Demonstrate a reflective approach to continuing community professional development.
  • Appraise own learning needs as a reflexive community practitioner.
  • Demonstrate innovative and creative thinking strategies.

Practical Skills

The ability to:
  • Achieve a range of appropriate practice skills relevant to their community role.
  • Apply safely a range of relevant assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies in the community practitioner role.
  • Communicate effectively with individuals, groups and communities.
  • Demonstrate evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrate collaborative, interdisciplinary working practices and partnerships.
  • Demonstrate effective community profiling skills.

Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

The ability to:
  • Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels.
  • Be competent in the use of IT.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively within an inter-professional environment.
  • Demonstrate literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Apply a problem solving approach to evidence-based decision making

Transferable Professional Skills

The ability to:
  • Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels.
  • Be competent in the use of IT.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively within an inter-professional environment.
  • Demonstrate literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Apply a problem solving approach to evidence-based decision making.
  • Reflect on practice.

This graduate programme is a 52 week full time equivalent and may be undertaken on either a full or part time basis. Students who wish to access the programme must have 120 credits at level 5 (or equivalent). They can take a flexible approach to completion and normally have between one and five years to obtain the award. The programme must be completed within four years to meet the NMC [2004] requirements.

The programme is made up of 50% theory and 50% practice. For each 20 credit module, the time required to prepare for and to produce assessable work and to prepare for examinations is calculated as 200 hours, inclusive of time spent in class contact with lecturers. All modules have internal integrity and the capacity to be linked to other modules to form a coherent programme of learning. The content of the programme takes into account the need for Specialist Community Public Health nurses to exercise higher levels of judgement, discretion and decision making within the ten key principles of public health practice, which are grouped into four domains:

  • Search for health needs.
  • Stimulation of awareness of health needs.
  • Influence on policies affecting health.
  • Facilitation of health enhancing activities.

The programme will offer flexible modes of delivery in collaboration with the trusts or employing organisation. The programme is linked to a higher education accreditation system, with existing mechanisms for the award of credit for appropriate learning and prior experiential learning. The maximum contact hours (direct teacher/learner interaction) are within the recommended range for level 6 modules – i.e. 25-35 hours of student contact. The Strategic Health Authority has commissioned this programme having identified local need, and has undertaken to meet the financial costs of delivering the programme.

The programme is offered on a modular basis and designed to meet the criteria set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council Specialist Community Public Health Nurses Competencies, and the QAA subject benchmarks for Nursing and Health Visiting. The programme contains seven credited modules - five 20 credit and two ten credit modules. 120 level 6 credits must be achieved by the end of the taught programme.

Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with FHEQ, using their stated credit level descriptors as a reference point. The programme is equally divided between theoretical study and practice. There are three defined areas of practice:

  • Health Visiting.
  • Occupational Health Nursing.
  • School Nursing.

Where a defined area of practice is required, students must have completed a consolidated practice experience (minimum of ten weeks) and at least half of the remaining practice time in settings with clients that are central to the responsibilities of the defined practice.



Please note, that having been granted derogation from the University Regulations, the following applies to this programme:-

Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM6173 6 Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing (V100) 10 Optional
NM6174 6 Leading Specialist Practice 20 Comp
NM6177 6 Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Practice Learning Skills Portfolio 10 Comp
NM6178 6 Public Health Prevention, Promotion and Protection 20 Comp
NM6179 6 Research and Ethical Practice 20 Comp
NM6180 6 Theories of Equality, Diversity and Safeguarding 20 Comp
NM6187 6 Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Occupational Health Nursing) 20 Comp
NM6189 6 Work Related Professional Skills 10 Optional

120 level 6 credits must be achieved by the end of the taught programme.

The admission criteria for student entry to the BSc Specialist Community Public Health Nursing programme will normally be:

  • Registration on the appropriate part of the NMC register.
  • 120 credits at level 5 or equivalent. (i.e. 120 credits at level 4, 120 credits at level 5 either through study or AP(E)L).
  • Normally a minimum of two years' post-registration experience. *
  • Support from the sponsoring trust or organisation.

All successfully short listed applicants will normally be interviewed by at least two interviewers, usually an academic member of the programme team and a Practice Teacher or Service manager.

If an applicant already has an honours degree and wishes to follow the undergraduate programme, the qualification aim must be a Graduate Diploma

*Candidates who do not possess the full two years of experience in the specialist area may exceptionally be admitted to the programme using the following criteria, all of which must be met:

  • Support from sponsoring Trust or organisation.
  • Evidence of practice in a closely related area of specialism.


NMC Specialist Community Public Health competencies, Skills for Health; QAA benchmark statements & public health standards

Nature and extent of programme

This programme seeks to provide nurses working in the community setting with a strategy for lifelong learning which enables them to attain an award of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing. It is one that sees a strong integration between theory and practice, with practice as the main focus and measure of the role and quality of the Specialist Community Public Health nurse. Theory is seen as providing not only the foundation for practice, but also contributing to the generation of practice initiatives. It will also promote the extension of professional roles and therefore the development of a critically reflective and responsive practitioner.

The curriculum philosophy is a response to a number of professional and government initiatives and strategies - (Department of Health, 2010, 2010a, RCN 2010; Marmot Review; Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2004) which have a direct effect on the way professional education should be organised and provided. They are expected to supervise and encourage development within others through motivating and supporting change, and by creating an environment in which practice development is fostered, evaluated and disseminated within the appropriate ethical and legal frameworks.

The programme aims to provide a student-centred, inter-disciplinary, dynamic and quality educational experience that will be instrumental in changing and developing nursing practice, and in producing practitioners who will be leaders of their profession.


Department of Health (2010) Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS of Health, Accessed 17/01/13

Department of Health (2010a) Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention programme   Accessed 17th January 2013 

Marmot, M. (2010) Fair society, healthy lives: the Marmot review; strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010. The Marmot Review.

Accessed 17/01/13

Nursing and Midwifery Council (2004). Standards of proficiency for Specialist Community Public Health Nurses. Accessed 17 January   2013 from:

The RCN Integrated Career and Competency Framework for Occupational Health Nursing (RCN CCF-OHN) (RCN 2010)  Accessed 17 January 2013

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development. The predominant method of teaching and learning will be by distance learning faciliated electronically via the University of Chester intranet site.  Each module has a dedicated space which is primed with a range of subject specific and generic public health and social care resources to enhance learning including: access to the electronic library, electronic journals, directed learning materials created by the module leaders and synchronus and asynchronous learning exercises, podcasts and video streaming.

At key points within the programme there will be face to face sessions with module leaders who will then utilise a mix of teaching methods, which take account of the subject matter, the student group size, the students’ previous experience and the resources available. Methods of learning and teaching will include formal lectures, scenario-based learning sessions, problem-based learning, tutorials, seminars, presentations and debates, reflection, practice-based workshops, learning through practice, directed study, private study sessions, all supported through e-learning packages. Self directed, inter professional learning and peer learning are methods used.

The student experience will be enhanced by the use of critical reflection. A number of modules are assessed using real scenarios generated from the practice setting which facilitate the integration of theory and practice, thus promoting the development of critical decision-making and problem-solving skills. This will encourage the development of lifelong learning which builds to form a practice learning portfolio for the programme. The practice learning portfolio will focus on the further development of the students’ reflective skills, with a specific section devoted to reflection on learning in and on practice. Students will thus be placed at the centre of the learning experience and are expected to assume responsibility for their own educational development. 

Problem-based learning is included as a teaching and learning strategy within the programme. The approach adopted within the Faculty of Health and Social Care is termed ’scenario-generated learning’ and this will be used as a strategy for learning and teaching within the programme. The future aim is for all modules to be taught as a mixed mode, where students have access to learning materials through e-learning in varying proportions from fully taught with supporting materials to full use of electronic materials with minimal taught content.

Methods of learning and teaching will emphasise student-centred techniques. This will facilitate the student to become an autonomous learner, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the parameters of the programme aims and outcomes, which will require the student to actively identify and engage with specific learning outcomes pertinent to their area of community practice. The student will also be expected to identify and negotiate acceptable methods of evidencing the achievement of the learning outcomes.

 Inter-professional learning is a key feature within the programme, and it is recognised that this may present challenges to teaching staff to ensure that the needs of learners from all community disciplines are met. Shared learning across a range of modules is however actively encouraged, with 'breakout' workshops to ensure that the specific application to the professional pathway is maintained. Examples and scenarios are drawn from a range of professional areas to ensure application to specialist practice.  Visiting lecturers and nationally recognised expert professionals are invited to participate in a number of themed sessions within the programme, in order to provide contemporary perspectives within practice.  

Practice Teachers/mentors will undertake student assessment in practice, with support from the lecturing staff of the Faculty. A designated SCPHN Practice Teacher/mentor will be allocated to each student and will assess the student’s progress and competence within a structured framework including a mid-way progress report and collaboration with other clinical staff. The student has the responsibility of completing their Specialist Community Public Health Skills Practice Learning Portfolio with the assessor, taking an active role in setting up progress meetings and working alongside the Practice Teacher to ensure the assessment of practice is possible.

A designated Skills Week has been timetabled into the programme to allow students to practice learn in a supported environment with pathway specific clinical skills (Specialist Community Public Health Practice Learning Skills Portfolio)

Students will be exposed to a variety of assessment methods designed to ensure that the content, outcomes and level of the modules are measured in a fair and transparent manner. Examples include assignments, seminar presentations, individual case studies and reflective accounts. Knowledge and understanding will be tested through written assignments, seminar presentations and individual case studies. Intellectual skills will be assessed normally through course work assignments, and students will be asked to demonstrate thinking and cognitive ability through written assignments, seminar presentations, individual case studies and reflective accounts. All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national benchmarks.

The practice element of the course will be assessed by the Specialist Community Public Health Practice Learning Skills Portfolio. 


The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a graduate, and it is assessment criteria based upon QAA and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics (see below).

Demonstrate reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.

Apply the methods, techniques and modes of practice that they have learned and review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding.

Theory/practice link
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques enabling them to take initiatives and accept significant responsibility within organisations.

Demonstrate critical analysis and be able to deal with complex issues.

Consider abstract data, concepts and/or raw materials and frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions to a problem.

Evaluating evidence and argument
Ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry.

Reaching sound judgements
Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship.

Ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions, in a variety of formats appropriate to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

The graduate will have developed skills associated with professional practice within their chosen Specialist Community Public Health Nursing role. On completion of the programme, these graduates will be equipped to deliver the highest quality evidence-based practice which will be underpinned by the ten key principles of Public Health Practice related to their Specialist Community Public Health Nursing role. The principles are within the four domains below:

  • Search for health needs.
  • Stimulation of awareness of health needs.
  • Influence on policies affecting health.
  • Facilitation of health enhancing activities.

Graduates are therefore expected to be at the forefront of contemporary Specialist Community Public Health Nursing practice across a variety of settings and will act as leaders within their professional arena. Graduates will be equipped with the in-depth knowledge and skills necessary to practice as a Specialist Community Public Health Nursing practitioner, and will be able to assess needs of individuals, groups and populations within their practice. They will also be able to plan, re-design, implement and evaluate interventions to meet their population health needs. Students will also have gained an in-depth understanding of inter-professional and inter-agency working.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Please note that, despite what is stated in section 16 'Maximum length of study', this programme has to be completed within 156 weeks for full time students or 208 weeks for part time students to meet NMC Circular 24/2006.

The BSc (Hons) programme is not designed as a continuation programme and is therefore mutually exclusive.

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