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A helping hand for parents

Posted on the 19th December 2014

Health Visitors play a vital role providing support and advice to new parents, helping them along the way in their new journey of parenthood. This exciting yet sometimes daunting task is made easier by the expertise and commitment of the family’s Health Visitor.

Traditionally, the path into Health Visiting involved qualifying as a nurse and completing a conversation course after a set time of general nursing experience. However, a new government initiative has revised the way people can enter this coveted profession, which in turn is attracting a new generation of people who want to help new families in their child’s early development years. There are a number of routes into the role, ranging from undertaking a nursing degree at university followed by a one year conversion course, to vocational training and learning on the job.

Vicky Ainscough is a Health Visitor with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. She started her career as a nursery nurse, which she left to attend university to qualify as a Paediatric Nurse. However Vicky decided she wanted to work within the community and have the opportunity to provide longer term support to families during their baby’s early development years and so went back to university and completed her Health Visitor training.

Vicky said:

“My favourite part of the job is really getting to know the families and helping new parents adapt to the role of parenting. It can sometimes be difficult for mums when feeding their baby, so being able to help them establish a feeding routine is extremely rewarding.

“A typical day for me would include attending baby clinics and visiting families in their homes. Some of the tasks I would undertake during this time include weighing the baby, checking health and development and also assessing the needs of the family. It is also part of the role as a Health Visitor to see how mum is coping and interacting with her new baby and providing her with any support she requires.  I may also attend multi agency meetings which can involve schools, parents and the local authority to provide advice on children at risk. The end of the day may include a visit to a vulnerable family which could involve issues such as substance misuse and provide help and support to the parents.

“If you are passionate and committed to making a difference to children and families and want to influence change then this is the job for you!”

Michelle Cox, Universal Services Manager for the Children and Families Network at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Being a Health Visitor is an extremely rewarding role and we are excited to be welcoming the next generation of Health Visitors to our teams. We have people from all backgrounds, some, like Vicky, who started out as nurses and others who have come straight from university after receiving their qualifications. The team provide great support to allow people to realise their full potential which in turn benefits the families we work with who receive excellent support and care from their Health Visitor.”

The award winning Children and Families Team at Lancashire Care are on the look out to recruit the next great Health Visitors. The service offers a wide range of benefits including flexible working, training and development programmes and mentorship. If you are interested or would like more information, please visit or telephone Isobel Walton on 01282 648274. The team are currently accepting applications until 5 January 2015 with interviews taking place on Thursday 15 January.