The specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN) part of the register is for registered nurses and midwives working in public health roles. They will have completed SCPHN courses approved by us. These courses include the 10 recognised public health competencies.

SCPHN programmes can only be undertaken by individuals who are already on our register as a nurse or midwife. SCPHNS must maintain their registration as a nurse or a midwife and cannot renew their registration only as a SCPHN.

Some SCPHNs have their area of practice shown on the register. For example, health visitors (HV), school nurses (SN), occupational health nurses (OHN) and family nurses (FHN). This shows that the programme they have taken focused on preparing them for a particular area of practice. Others will be on the register as SCPHNs without a field of practice shown and may work in more general public health roles.

SCPHNs can take additional programmes to enable them to practise in a different field (NMC Circular 26/2006). This does not lead to additional annotation on 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.

SCPHNs work with individuals and populations. A population may be determined by age, gender, geography, workplace, ethnicity or social circumstances. Decisions made by SCPHNs can affect whole populations without them having direct contact with individuals. For this reason their regulation is considered separately by the SCPHN part of the register.

More information

Standards of proficiency for specialist community public health nurses