Standards of proficiency for specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN)

These standards represent the knowledge, skills, and attributes all specialist community public health nurses (SCPHNs) must demonstrate.

Our new standards of proficiency for specialist community public health nurses were approved by our Council at its meeting on 26 May 2022.

They have been updated to take into account the changes taking place in society and health care, and the implications these changes have for SCPHNS.

To find out more about the new SCPHN standards and why they’re important, you can watch our webinar.

Watch webinar 

Webinar slides

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How to read these standards

The proficiencies in this document specify the knowledge, skills and attributes that registered nurses and midwives go on to achieve to support and care for people, communities and populations across the life course in specialist community public health nursing roles.

They reflect what the public can expect SCPHN health visitors, school nurses, occupational health nurses and SCPHN public health nurses to know and be able to do in order to lead, collaborate, promote, protect and prevent ill health across the life course.

These standards of proficiency consist of:

  • Core standards of proficiency that apply to all fields of SCPHN practice: HV, SN, OHN and SCPHN public health nurses, and are grouped under six spheres of influence, and;
  • Field specific standards of proficiency that apply to each of the following fields of SCPHN practice: HV, SN and OHN, and are grouped under four of the six spheres of influence. 

These proficiencies will provide new post-graduate specialist community public health nurses entering the profession with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need at the point of registration.

SCPHN health visitors, school nurses, occupational health nurses and SCPHN PHNs will build on these proficiencies as they gain experience and fulfil their professional responsibility. They will demonstrate their commitment to develop as a SCPHN practitioner and to build a career pathway, engaging in ongoing education and professional development opportunities necessary for revalidation.

Using the standards

It's important to read these standards along with the other parts of Realising professionalism: Standards for education and training:

Reading these standards together provides a complete picture of:

  • what SCPHNs need to know and be able to do, by the time they register with us
  • what approved education institutions (AEIs) and their practice learning partners must provide when delivering education and training courses

Using our standards to plan your CPD

Our standards of proficiency can be a key resource when planning CPD as part of your revalidation.

You can use our standards in your revalidation in the following ways:

  • Use them to consider what knowledge and skills you need to practise safely.
  • Use them to reflect on your practice and identify any further learning.
  • Use them to help you plan your CPD as part of revalidation.

Post registration workshops

This session was held in October 2023 and was aimed at SCPHN and SPQ educators, and practice placement partners, to help their understanding of our post-registration programmes. It covered:

  • Partnership working with members of the public and students in design, development and delivery of programmes
  • Answering some key frequently asked questions

Workshop recording

To help education institutions with the implementation of these new standards we held a workshop in June 2023 covering:

  • what must be considered when developing new curricula and who must be involved
  • our QA framework and process for seeking and obtaining new post-registration programmes approval

You can view the recording below along with the slides and some supporting information.

Workshop recording

Workshop slides

How these standards were developed

Since 2019 we have been developing these standards with input from stakeholders across the UK.

We put our proposals to consultation in spring 2019 and were pleased to have more than 2,363 responses.

We listened closely to the feedback we received, and made several positive changes to the standards as a result. 

Find out more about how these standards were developed and co-produced.