Training and development (public health nurse)

Find out more about how public health nurses develop their roles further.

Public health nurses are qualified nurses or midwives and, as part of the professional registration requirements, must demonstrate that they have participated in continuous professional development (CPD). A broad range of training and development is usually provided once they are appointed to a public health nurse role. 

Maintaining skills and competence and keeping up to date is essential. For example, some public health nurses decide to go into service management or clinical academic research, or become a community matron and lead a team of health visitors and other nurses.


You’ll need to be committed to learning, and always keep your skills and knowledge up to date. To maintain your registration to practise with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, you’ll need to go through the process of revalidation.

The process is straightforward and will help you as a nurse or midwife to demonstrate that you practise safely and effectively. You will have to revalidate every three years to renew your registration.

Find out more about revalidation on the NMC microsite


Nurses and midwives who are registered with the NMC and are working in a public health role can apply to undertake an NMC-approved training programme in specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN). This is particularly important for those whose decisions can affect whole population groups (and, in the case of health visitors, for example, the qualification is in practice essential for employment). Nurses who have completed the SCPHN programme and who work in general public health nursing roles are entered on the SCPHN part of the NMC register without a field of practice shown, whereas other nurses, for example those working as health visitors, school nurses, or occupational health nurses, have their area of practice indicated (SCPHN-HV, -SN, -OHN).

Leadership roles 

The NHS Leadership Academy runs a number of programmes to support nurses into leadership roles, including the Mary Seacole programme. The academy also offers a programme purely for frontline nurses and midwives to help develop their skills and build confidence.

Education and training roles

Nurses can also be: 

  • preceptors
  • mentors
  • practice educators
  • lecturers

Click on the links below for more information about these roles.

Nursing careers resource

A careers resource has been jointly developed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Health Education England (HEE) to help registered nurses and the clinical support workforce plan their health careers effectively. It shows different ways that you can develop your career from a band 5 role with case studies, videos and next steps.

Visit the RCN/HEE careers resource for registered band 5 nurses

  • Preceptors offer guidance and support to newly qualified nurses. They are qualified practitioners and normally have experience in the same area of practice as the practitioner requiring support.

  • Mentors (or assessors) are responsible for a range of activity and learning for student nurses, such as the quality of the learning in a practice setting and the assessment of a student’s competence.
  • Lecturers are responsible for classroom teaching in universities. Their role is similar to that of the practice educator in the practice environment, and both roles have equal standing.

  • Practice educators lead teaching and development in a practical setting rather than a theoretical setting. The practice educator provides guidance and support to mentors involved with students and provides a link between the practice setting and the university.

Partner logos

Make a comment or report a problem with this page

Help us improve

This form is for you to tell us about something that could be improved about the website or if there's anything wrong, incorrect or inaccurate with what you see. 

If you have a query about a career in the NHS, please visit our contact us page and call or email us.