The specialist community public health nurse (SCPHN) part of the register is for registered nurses and midwives working in specialist public health roles, who have successfully completed post-registration SCPHN programmes approved by us.

In July 2022 we published new standards of proficiency for SCPHN and these came into effect on 1 September 2022. We also published new standards for post-registration programmes at the same time and education providers have until 31 August 2024 to seek approval of new programmes in line with these new standards.

As SCPHN standards of proficiency are post-registration standards, individuals can only enter the SCPHN part of the register if they are a registered level one nurse or midwife and have successfully met all the requirements of their NMC approved SCPHN programme. SCPHNs must maintain their registration as a nurse or a midwife and cannot renew their registration only as a SCPHN. All SCPHNs work in partnership with people to prevent ill health, protect health and promote wellbeing.

Some SCPHNs have their field of practice shown on the register. For example, health visitors (HV), school nurses (SN) and occupational health nurses (OHN). The SCPHN family nurse (FHN) qualification is no longer available to new aspiring SCPHNs, but existing SCPHN FHNs will continue to have this area of practice shown on the register. This shows that the programme they have taken focused on preparing them for a particular field of practice. Others will be on the register as SCPHNs without a field of practice shown and may work in wider public health roles after gaining the SCPHN Public Health Nurse (PHN) qualification.

SCPHNs may opt to undertake additional study to support their intention to practise in one of the other fields of SCPHN practice. Education providers who provide this opportunity must make it clear that this does not lead to an additional SCPHN qualification and that we do not QA this. Nor does this additional study lead to an additional annotation on the SCPHN part of the register. This is because having more than one annotation on the register would not add to public protection as it would not show which field a SCPHN was practising in at any given time.

Further information on the availability of additional study can be directly sought from education providers who are approved to deliver SCPHN programmes.

More information

Standards of proficiency for specialist community public health nurses