Real-life story - Richard Montague

A chance meeting with an ex-colleague who was studying towards a health visiting qualification inspired Richard to find out more about the role. 

male health visitor with mum and baby
Richard Montague Health visitor
Employer or university Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
Salary range £20k-£30k

How I got into the role

I met an ex-colleague who was studying towards a health visiting qualification. He was one of only a few men on a health visiting course and his passion for the role really inspired me. I was working as a psychiatric nurse and ward manager so I did some work experience with a health visiting team to see what it was like. After this, I knew it was the career for me. I qualified as a health visitor in 1995 and haven't looked back.

What I do

Health visiting is a complex but rewarding career which is vital to the health service. It is a wide-ranging role that involves a variety of tasks, such as new birth visits, protecting and safeguarding vulnerable children and educating new parents on issues such as breastfeeding and oral health. I am one of the very few male health visitors in the area so I also offer specialist support to fathers and promote fathers as positive role models in a child's upbringing.

I get to work with a variety of people, including other highly skilled and motivated healthcare professionals and agencies. The nature of my role means I might need to refer a mother with post-natal depression to a psychiatric counselling service for example, or a child with a learning disability to an early years' centre providing specialist services and support.

The best bits and challenges

Where I work is very deprived so I deal with many families from poor socioeconomic backgrounds who often feel vulnerable and isolated. By assessing their health needs, I can provide advice on accessing various services within the community or signpost them to specialist workers.

Lots of people dread going to work but I can honestly say that I love my job. The positive contribution I make to a family's physical and emotional wellbeing is really satisfying, particularly when they need that extra support they wouldn't receive without us.

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