A health visitor is a qualified and registered nurse or midwife who works primarily with pre-school children and families. They support and advise on a range of areas such as breast feeding and weaning, safety, immunisation, hygiene, post natal depression as well as physical and emotional development and other aspects of health and childcare.
Health visitors also advise on all aspects of family health and social issues that may impact on families and work in partnership with GPs, other health professionals and other agencies such as local authority children’s services, early year’s children’s services and local housing departments.
Health visitor Amy Nixon is at the beginning of her health visiting career. She trained in the Richmond borough and now works in Hounslow.
What is it like to work here at Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare?
It’s great. Hounslow has got very different needs to Richmond. Here, there are a lot of vulnerable families, poverty, asylum seekers and people who move in and out of the area. It’s a good place to work because there are a lot of different challenges. In Richmond, you tend to have more affluent areas and so the needs are different. There are a lot of different cultures here so you’re always learning. It’s very diverse and interesting. It’s unlike anywhere else I've worked before.
What is the most enjoyable/rewarding aspect of working here?
I find supporting the families particularly rewarding if you’re working with first time parents or those who won’t get much support otherwise. It’s really nice going into their homes and speaking to them when they've just had a baby. It’s a lovely thing that we have the chance to do. I like supporting them and watching them grow in confidence. You sometimes have the chance to see some families quite often and build a good relationship with them.
How does working here help your career?
I think it’s been a good start, particularly working somewhere like Hounslow which is quite challenging. It’s given me lots of experience that I wouldn't have got in other areas. I have my own case-load of families. As a nurse, you share patient care, and in health visiting, there is still an element of that, but you are also given families that you are specifically responsible for.
How would you describe the support and training?
It’s good. Our manager’s got an open door policy and you see and hear a lot from them which is nice. There is a lot of training here. When I started, I was surprised at how many study days there are. There’s also a lot of safeguarding training available. There are a lot of opportunities for extra training and they are good at keeping you up-to-date. It definitely enables you to progress. We have a good work culture. All the managers are very approachable and there’s good communication. The teams are quite big and everyone is happy to help each other out and look after each other.