• 09 August 2021
  • 11 min read

Becoming A School Nurse: SCPHN Course Explained

  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 560
Play video: "When you complete the course, you will have an additional title imparted on the NMC register."

Angie explains the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Course (SCPHN), breaking down the course structure, modules and the qualifications you will receive.

Topics covered in this article

What Is A School Nurse?

The Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Course (SCPHN)

You’ll Be Assigned A Practice Assessor

There Is An Academic Part Of The Course

The Qualifications You Will Need For The Course

SCPHN Core Modules

The Course Structure

The Qualifications You Will Receive

What Is A School Nurse?

Hi everyone, it's Nurse Angie again.

So today on behalf of nurses.co.uk, I just wanted to share with you guys the journey into becoming a School Nurse and talking about the course you have to do in order to specialise in this area.

Now, a lot of people have a perception that being a School Nurse is boring, it's easy, when in actual fact it can be incredibly challenging and that we are essentially public health practitioners.

We combine working in safeguarding health, mental health, wellbeing, all of that together to provide an early intervention service for school-age children up to around the age of 19, depending on your trust.

We have our own caseloads and actually we are autonomous workers, we work with autonomously in the community.

So if you have an interest in working with children and young people in a public health setting, or hopefully you're thinking about in the future, you might want to switch over from acute to community, school nursing, health visiting in the future, then this might be of interest to you.

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The Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Course (SCPHN)

So currently I'm coming towards the end of our studies in what's called a Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Course.

And you may hear it shortened to its abbreviation of SCPHN and that's what I'm gonna be calling it throughout the rest of this video as SCPHN.

I finish in about four weeks, so I'm coming towards the end now and I'm so excited, I can't tell you, breathe guys, we'll get into it.

So the SCPHN is essentially a one-year course and you can take it at a level six level or level seven and that's essentially a degree or master's level.

You have to be able to be a qualified nurse in order to do the course and there are two routes to choose from.

You can do a health visiting routes, and you can also specialise in a school nursing route, which is the route that I've chosen to do.

So the SCPHN is 50% based at university, so your lectures and also 50% in practice in your chosen route.

So if for example, if you chosen to do the health visiting route, then your settings would be in relations to where under five year olds will be like, health centres.

And if you've chosen to do school nursing route, then your practice placements will be in schools and that will be both primary and secondary and sometimes PRUs, which are Pupil Referral Units, if your locality has any of those.

You’ll Be Assigned A Practice Assessor

You will be assigned what's called a practice assessor who is essentially like your guide throughout this course and, like your mentor basically, so to speak.

So it's important that you have good working relationships with your PA and practice assessor is shortened PA.

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Do you have any questions about the SCPHN Course?

Ask Angie your questions below

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There'll be the ones who are assessing your portfolio document, we get given like a document to complete throughout the course of the year and your PA is one who's responsible for either passing or failing your placement basically.

There Is An Academic Part Of The Course

You need to pass both elements of uni and practice and or to get your qualification.

So, let's start with the university side of things.

Guys, I really struggled with the academic writing, again, I'm not even gonna sugarcoat it.

Luckily, I passed everything first time round, but for me personally, it had been 12 years since I'd been to university when I started this course last year, so, as soon as I hear things like, heard things like Harvard referencing system, I was having palpitations and it all came flooding back to me like all my pre-reg nursing stuff.

So if you're like me or you hadn't been to university for a very long time, try and get reacquainted again with things like assignment writing, Harvard referencing systems, all that kind of stuff.

And actually I find it quite helpful to dig out all my old assignments in pre-reg nursing and also speaking to friends, speak to your colleagues about, who have done the course before to get an idea, to get some tips on what the course is gonna be like.

If I want this, I'd never really heard of the SCPHN before until last year when I applied to do it.

And that's only because most of the school nursing services that I'd worked with previously didn't offer it.

The Qualifications You Will Need For The Course

So it was not really something that came up in discussion in order to be made aware of it.

It's essentially a qualification that more and more recruiters and trusts are looking for, if you want to progress in your career and your band in, in a public health setting.

So more trusts will require you to have a SCPHN qualification if you want to be a band six or band seven management kind of level.

So if you're a nurse that sees yourself progressing in the future and to sort of more leadership roles, then you will have to find that you may have to complete the SCPHN course in order to do so.

Most people will tell you that this is the hardest course that you study and that's purely because of the intensity of it.

I'm not gonna lie, like you're essentially squeezing in a three-year degree into a one year course, basically, so if organisation is not your friend guys, make your best friend from now.

So, let's talk about the modules.

SCPHN Core Modules

The modules that you'll be studying on the course and it's important to note that obviously whichever university you do the course with might do sort of slightly different, but the core modules should be essentially the same.

So the modules are, there's a research module, there's a primary study of the child module, there's a public health one, there's a leading SCPHN teams one and a managing SCPHN teams one.

If we're talking about our research module, first of all, this is essentially learning about research behind health for high school nursing, behind health visiting.

And you'll be given like one or two research papers that you have to critically analyse.

There was another word that I had totally forgotten about that really hit me in the face, critically analyse the research papers that you've been given.

You barely have to discuss it, your pros and cons.

And this is where all that qualitative and quantitative wording comes into it.

So yeah, that's the research module.

Your primacy of the child module is essentially about putting the child first in the centre of care.

And this module looks at things like safeguarding your domestic violence, your child health, health and wellbeing, mental health elements as well coming into it and looking at legislations, law, policies around children and young people.

That's a really exciting module, I really enjoyed that one.

Your public health module is pretty much self-explanatory.

So you'd go on to looking at public health in regards to children and young people, they're going to be looking at things like obesity, profiling schools, international public health, even as discussed as well.

Depending on what your uni, you do your public health at, you will be given a project, maybe.

So for my university, we were given a project and that was to design a poster on a public health issue that was currently a concern, so that's an exciting one to do.

And one thing to say, actually for this course that you need to pass both elements of both the university side and the practice side in order to pass the course, if you fail one, you won't be able to progress.

The leading SCPHN teams module and managing SCPHN teams module looks at how us are going to be the future leaders in regards to public health settings.

So it gives us knowledge and skills and how to manage, how to lead teams, looks at leadership styles and approaches and attitudes to leaders and how actually that can impact even a team or it can impact patient outcomes.

And I really enjoyed this module as well actually.

And then obviously you've got your placement days in-between.

The Course Structure

Typically, the course is set out as two days uni, two days practice and one day study day and that should be the same throughout the course.

So it kinda gives you an idea of what to expect if you're looking into applying.

If you're a parent like myself, I'm not going to sugarcoat this, please be prepared to utilise all childcare, all family where possible, because it can be quite stressful juggling parenthood, juggling university and juggling placement.

But it doesn't mean it's impossible, when I started my daughter was four, she's now five and I'm what, just four weeks away from finishing.

So if this is something that potentially is putting you off in terms of family life, please don't let it put you off, you can do it.

Like I said, I'm almost finished, I've done it.

Dedication, organisation, calling on help where you can, I'm certainly not the only parent that has gone on to finish this course either, so guys, it can be done.

The Qualifications You Will Receive

When you complete the course, you will have an additional title imparted on the NMC register.

So as a specialist, public health practitioner, so that will go under the NMC register under your name, alongside you, what your initial qualifications were.

For example, if you have children's nurse and the registered adult nurse, so you'll have two lines, which is quite exciting actually, and you can take your public health qualification anywhere in any related setting.

Be creative with what you wanna do with it afterwards, you can go into schools, you can go into health centre, you can go into safeguarding, domestic violence, like the world is endless.

So I really do champion this course, I'm really happy and I'm glad that I took the plunge and I studied it.

I'm almost at the end, I'm excited for the future and it is definitely something that you wanna get into, then by all means, please look into it.

So yeah, I hope that was of interest to you and I will see you next time, bye.

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Do you have any questions about the SCPHN Course?

Ask Angie your questions below

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About the author

  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse

I'm a Paediatric Nurse with 13 year's experience in a range of settings from Ward life, A&E, Sexual Health, School Health and Safeguarding Children. Currently my role is in the community as a Children's Safeguarding Nurse within a School Nursing Service working with vulnerable Children and Young people aged 5-19 years.

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  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse

About the author

  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse

I'm a Paediatric Nurse with 13 year's experience in a range of settings from Ward life, A&E, Sexual Health, School Health and Safeguarding Children. Currently my role is in the community as a Children's Safeguarding Nurse within a School Nursing Service working with vulnerable Children and Young people aged 5-19 years.

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