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Health visitor research unveiled

10 September 2013

Dr Karen Whittaker (pictured left) highlights need for support for future caring professionals

The importance of the student journey in the world of health visitor recruitment and retention has been highlighted in new research from a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) academic.

Dr Karen Whittaker’s research highlighted the need to support potential recruits by organising time with existing students and practising health visitors prior to making applications for programmes of study and professional preparation.

The Senior Lecturer in the UCLan School of Health completed the research during a secondment to King’s College London. During this time she worked with King’s College Professor Jill Maben, Director of the National Nursing Research Unit, and Professor Dame Sarah Cowley, Emeritus Professor of Community Practice Development and Health Visitor.

“The research shows the sense of privilege health visitors can experience when working closely with families and the importance of enabling them to practice their role in ways that they knew would be helpful for families."

Dr Whittaker said: “The research shows the sense of privilege health visitors can experience when working closely with families and the importance of enabling them to practice their role in ways that they knew would be helpful for families. Such experiences help sustain them and impacts positively on workforce retention.”

Unite/Community Practitioners and Health Visitor Association (CPHVA) Professional Officer Dave Munday said: “This research has further backed up what Unite/CPHVA has said repeatedly. It’s important that commissioners, managers and ‘organisations’ consider the findings of this study and make sure they respond to its well-made points to ensure that they can reach the targets laid out in the HV plan. We’ll also be highlighting the research in our on-going campaigns across the four countries of the UK.”

A copy of the full report is available on request by email to Dr Whittaker at kwhittaker1@uclan.ac.uk