A new collaborative course between the University of Stirling and NHS Health Boards in Scotland is improving support to young children across the country.
More than 50 nurses and midwives formed the first cohort to start the Health Visiting Programme this week in centres across Stirling, Inverness and Dundee.
Health visitors support and educate families from birth through to a child’s fifth birthday, carrying out physical and developmental checks for the children as well as offering support and advice.
The course – highly commended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council - has been developed in support of the Scottish Government’s commitment to train more than 500 new health visitors in Scotland over the next three years.
Joanna Smith, Programme Director, School of Health Sciences, said: “This opportunity to deliver a contemporary and innovative Health Visiting Programme in our partner boards will provide new Health Visiting students with the skills and knowledge to deliver the highest standard of care to children, young people and their families.
“The Health Visiting programme will use a range of innovative teaching and learning methods which are designed to support all our students from island, rural and urban communities. We are delighted that we are contributing to the capacity and capability of the children’s service workforce in Scotland.”
Students receive a combination of academic teaching and practical experience throughout the one-year programme which focuses on how to assess and analyse children’s needs and how their own individual experiences impact upon their wellbeing.
It is delivered by the University's School of Health Sciences in collaboration with the School of Applied Social Science and NHS Health Board partners in NHS Western Isles, Highland, Tayside and Forth Valley.
Professor Angela Wallace, Director of Nursing for NHS Forth Valley, said: “We welcome the launch of this new training programme which will develop a new generation of health visitors for the future. This is vital as health visitors are a key member of our community teams and play an increasingly important role in looking after the health and wellbeing of children and families across Forth Valley.”
Stirling is leading the way in Health Sciences and its research was recently ranked first in Scotland and 12th in the UK. Its Stirling campus is also home to WithScotland, a key educational centre for child and adult protection.
Professor Jayne Donaldson, Head of the School of Health Sciences added: “The University of Stirling continues to be at the forefront of teaching and research in child welfare and protection. We offer a broad suite of child welfare and protection programmes and world-class research. We are delighted to announce this new programme and look forward to working with our NHS and local authority partners.”