986 Public Health Nurse


The curriculum for the study programme, Public Health Nurse, at Telemark University College aims at realising the national curriculum and regulations for the study programme, Public Health Nurse, set by Ministry of Education and Research 1st December 2005. The curriculum is based on the following documents:

  • Norwegian Universities Act no. 15, 1st April 2005
  • The Act Concerning Health Services in the Municipalities and the Act’s regulations (1982)
  • White Paper No. 27 (2000-2001) on reforming the quality of higher education: Do your duty – Demand your rights.
  • White Paper no. 25 “Coping, Opportunities and Meaning” (“ Mestring, muligheter og mening”); Future health care challenges; other relevant government white papers: “Escalation Plan for Mental Health”, “Openness and Wholeness”.
  • Telemark University College’s Examination Regulations adopted by the board 15th December 2005.
  • Regulations for Suitability Assessment pursuant to the Norwegian Universities Act, § 4, 30th February 2006.
  • Telemark University College’s Quality Assurance Handbook adopted by the board 28th August 2006.
  • Telemark University College’s Strategic Plan (2005-2009) set by the board 24th February 2005.
  • The curriculum for the study programme, Public Health Nurse, Telemark University College, 26th January 2000.

The study programme curriculum is to be understood as the student’s contract with the teaching faculty, and includes a basic description of how this contract should be executed. In addition, the curriculum will serve as a working and guidance tool for distributing information about the department’s professional pedagogical activities.

On application to the Dean of the Faculty, parts of the study may be open to external candidates.

The curriculum for the study programme, Public Health Nurse, at the Telemark University College has been approved by the Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Work Studies, 27th February 2007. The revised curriculum will come into force from autumn 2007.

The Public Health Nurse study programme is an advanced course of studies for nurses. The study programme is based on the nurse’s ethical code, and constitutes an specialisation for nurses within the field of public health and the prevention of illness. Telemark University College approaches the training of public health nurses through relating a cultural approach to the urban and rural policy challenges of modern society. The programme stresses human insight viewed in a context of mutual interaction and cooperation with the environment, culture and society. The programme focuses on resource orientation, finding solutions and encouraging clients to take personal responsibility.

In this advanced programme, students will develop an integrated professional competence which will involve theoretical understanding, personal competence and job-related skills. These three areas of competence will draw upon a number of specialisations and scientific approaches. The competence thus acquired will allow students to analyse problems, reflect and develop their analytical and critical capacities with respect to foundation knowledge and within the practical field of public health.

Public health and the prevention of illness

The public health nurse calls for initiatives which will encourage the users to exploit their personal resources and to improve their premises for good health, satisfaction and well being, and enhance their ability to master the challenges of daily life. The public-health nurse’s preventative work concentrates on reducing illness or injuries, and/or risk factors which may contribute to illness, injury or premature death. Such initiatives are directed towards individuals, groups or society in general.

The public-health nursing service

The Public Health Nursing Service Act came into force in 1957, but was rescinded when the Municipal Health Services Act (1982) went into effect in 1984. According to this Act, the health services should promote health and work to prevent illness, injury or disability. The public-health nursing service is a mandatory service within the municipal health service, and graduating as a public health nurse qualifies for a position in the public-health nursing service. The regulations in the Act specify the intention and basis of the public-health nursing service, and hence the focus and content of the study programme. The areas of responsibility which are named in the Act, and which have traditionally been associated with public-health nursing, are the operation of public health centres, health services in the schools, educational initiatives and improvements in the physical environment. The public health nurse has particular responsibility for the services of the public health centres and the school-health services, as well as educational activities associated with these services.

The activities of the public health centres and the school health service involve most individuals within the target groups, children, adolescents and their families. The work comprises all aspects of health, and involves contact and close cooperation with children, adolescents, families and their local communities. These activities demand a high level of interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation. This cooperation may involve individual children and families or networks and community initiatives. In an increasingly multicultural society, it is imperative that the public health nurse views her activities in a multicultural perspective.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

The target group for this programme consists of socially aware nurses who are willing to meet changes in society and living conditions, particularly for children, adolescents and their families, and who are interested in developing and ensuring the quality of the public-health nursing service in keeping with the needs of the population. The public-health nurse must be able to make positive contributions and participate actively in the local community on questions related to public health issues and policies. The programme expects the students to show initiative, take personal responsibility for their own learning processes and to participate actively in planning their studies.

The admission requirements for the public-health nursing study programme include qualification as a certified nurse and a minimum of one year’s full-time nursing experience.

Aim of the Programme

The intention of the public-health nursing programme is to train nurses in promoting public health and in initiating preventative measures aimed at children, adolescents and their families. Upon completion of the programme, they will be qualified to plan, initiate, carry out and evaluate health initiatives and preventative work associated with public health centres and the school health services in municipalities from a multicultural perspective.

Through this programme, the students are expected to further develop their insight into the interpretations and science of nursing, and be motivated to independence, creativity, initiative, cooperative effort and increased awareness of their responsibilities. The students will develop their ability to be critical towards both their own knowledge and that of others, and to develop on both a theoretical and practical level.

The public health nursing programme will help students gain current knowledge on the improvement of public health. Students will be expected to develop an understanding of their own aptitude for engaging in interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation, and that of others.

Students will develop skills in recognising and predicting needs, and learn to help users identify resources and safeguard their health. They should be able to discover and chart risk factors in the individual and his environment, mediate this information to individuals, groups and local communities and participate in problem-solving efforts with other involved professional groups. The programme will stress the importance of involving the user and the local communities in this work.

According to the national curriculum of 1st December 2005, public health nurses should be able, upon completing their education, to:

  • practice in the public health services based on an understanding that there are a number of different approaches to health.
  • evaluate and influence various factors which affect public health.
  • plan, administrate and develop the public-health nursing service in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, basic terms and local circumstances.
  • actively participate in and influence the planning of municipal health programmes, produce written documentation and mediate knowledge on health issues to local authorities and other departments.
  • improve the public health nursing service and ensure quality.
  • practice public health nursing based on the needs of, and in cooperation with, the local population.
  • evaluate the physical and psychosocial development of children and adolescents in an ecological and cultural perspective, and implement health-promoting and preventative measures.
  • be aware of their own values and norms, reflect on and take stances with respect to the public-health nurse’s professional standards and ethical dilemmas, and show ethical responsibility.
  • initiate and participate in binding interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation.
  • continue to develop their personal and professional competence as public health nurses.

Further Education opportunities

This study programme, Public Health Nurse, which is governed by the national curriculum, may, on application, be integrated into various Master’s degree programmes. This may result in a reduced period of study depending on the type of Master’s degree programme chosen.

Applicants who have the relevant further educational qualifications, comprising 60 ECTS, in addition to a Bachelor’s degree within health and social care subjects, may apply and obtain equivalency for their qualifications as part of the elective specialisation courses in major course unit 3. In the processing of such applications, the further educational qualifications will be assessed in terms of their relevance to the programme and the level of the qualifications.

Curriculum and structure

Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V) S3(A) S4(V) S5(A) S6(V)
986HEMN1 The Individual, Society and Health 15.00 O 15          
986HEMN2 The Health of Children and Adolescents 15.00 O   15        
986HEMN3 The Public Health Nursing Service and
Professional Practices
30.00 O       30    
986PRA Supervised Practical Studies in the
Public Health Nurse Programme
0.00 O            
Total: 15 15 0 30 0 0
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

The study programme includes 3 major course units that are taught over a period of 2 years.

Major course unit 1: The Individual, Society and Health

1st year of study – 1st semester:

Course units



Course grade for major course unit 1

Course unit 1.1: Health Promoting and Preventative Work

Course unit 1.2: Cultural Analytical Understanding

Course unit 1.3: Framework Conditions


Programme requirements 1, 2 and 3

1 week observation’s practice


Major course unit 2: The Health of Children and Adolescents

1st year of study – 2nd semester:

Course units



Course grade for major course unit 2

Course unit 2.1: Children and Youth’s Growth, Development and Health in Modern Society

Course unit 2.2: Interaction Parents/Children/ Youth

Course unit 2.3: Sexuality and Cohabitation


Programme requirements 4, 5, 6 and 7


Major course unit 3: Public Health Nurse Service and Professional Practices

2nd year of study – 3rd semester:

Course units



Course grade for major course unit 3

Course unit 3.1: Individual and Collective Measures in Health Promotion and Prevention of Illness

Course unit 3.2: The Organisation and Management of the Public Health Nursing Services


Programme requirements 8, 9, 10 and 11

9 weeks supervised practice


2nd year of study – 4th semester:

Course units



Course grade for major course unit 3

Course unit 3.3: Professional Development in One’s Own Field


Programme requirements 12 and 13

(Final examination)


The number of ECTS credits shown in the column “ECTS” corresponds to the amount of work required to complete the respective courses. The column “course grade” shows the number of ECTS credits represented by the examination.

Teaching and Learning Methods

View of Knowledge

Throughout the period of study the students will become acquainted with various learning arenas, each of which will require theoretical knowledge, practical skills and personal qualities. The subject, “public health nurse”, is a practice-oriented discipline in which understanding of knowledge reflects a philosophy which asserts that theory and practice are reciprocal activities. The study programme has been designed so that students will be given the opportunity to realise the importance of investigating and understanding theory as an important source for developing public health nurse skills in practice. The study programme also emphasises the importance of developing relational skills in practical studies and in interaction with co-students.

The academic environment in the public health nurse studies is aware of the importance of the development of knowledge and learning on the basis of social and cognitive learning theories, which emphasise that learning, knowledge and the development of skills is acquired in and through communication and interaction with other people. Learning presupposes intellectual reflection, working actively with thoughts, ideas, experiences and impressions and putting them into writing. For this reason, it is expected that students participate actively in the learning activities organised by the university college.

Learning activities

Varied teaching and learning methods will be used throughout the study programme. The aim is to stimulate students to work actively, analysing, reflecting on and integrating their own views, theories and experiences in relation to what is required in the field of practice, and to the ideals of the study programme’s theoretical foundation.

Considerable emphasis is given to self-study. Furthermore, resource lectures, project work, reflection groups, supervision groups, practical training, practical studies in the public health nurse’s field of practice and other student-oriented and active learning methods will also be emphasised.

Students will alternate between working individually, in base groups and in the classroom. The study programme uses ICT as a tool in connection with teaching, supervision, information, student cooperation and submission of student work. It is required that the student has access to a PC and Internet.


The Department of Health Studies has a comprehensive programme for international activities, especially with regard to exchange agreements for students who wish to take part of their studies abroad. The Public Health Nurse study programme offers this opportunity for students during their period of practical training. Students who wish to complete part of their studies abroad must exhibit qualitatively good progression in their studies, as well as participate in obligatory courses in connection with internationalisation. They should also contact the department’s international coordinator who, in cooperation with the teacher, will clarify the necessary formalities.

Theory and Practical Training

The study programme is organised into one-week workshops, including 17 theory weeks and 10 weeks in practice training. The theoretical studies comprise 45 ECTS and the practical studies 15 ECTS.

The students’ work assignments are varied and lie within the area of work of a public health nurse’s professional practice. The practical learning activities consist of amongst other things 1 week’s observation practice in the first semester, 9 weeks supervised practice in the 3rd semester as part of major course unit 3, of which one week will be spent preparing for the period of practical training.

The period of practical training will be planned in cooperation with the field of practical training and the university college. The student will draft individual aims in relation to the aims of the curriculum, his/her learning needs and the opportunities offered by the practical training location. The aims will be approved by the supervisor and the teacher-contact. The student will keep a diary as a basis for supervision and reflection notes as a basis for the “reflection days”.

Assessment Methods

The methods of assessment are stipulated in the national curriculum and regulations for the study programme, Public Health Nurse; The Norwegian Universities Act; and Telemark University College examination regulations.

The assignments/study programme requirements will contribute to subject area specialisation and integration of various subject areas – theory and practice. Throughout the whole of the study programme students will be presented with various assignments/programme requirements that must be completed if they are to receive a passing grade for the study programme. However, the various assignments will be assessed in different ways and given different weighting. Programme requirements are assessed as pass/fail, while examinations are assessed according to the following scale:



General, qualitative description of assessment criteria



An excellent performance.


Very good

A very good performance, which is above average. Shows independent thinking.



An average performance, which is satisfactory in the most important areas.



Below-average performance, with significant shortcomings.



A performance that meets the minimum criteria, but no more.



A performance that does not meet the minimum academic criteria.

To pass the final examination, the student must attain no less than an E. It is an absolute requirement to receive a passing grade. The criteria for a passing grade must reflect the competence level which corresponds to the academic level of the programme. The requirements for attaining a passing grade should not depend on the student’s ability to complete the programme. The borderline between pass and fail may be set at a higher level than between E and F, where the grade pass/fail is used rather than the letter-grade system.

In order to achieve a passing grade the candidate should exhibit sufficient knowledge and also to some extent be able to apply that knowledge in a professional manner in specific user, client and patient contexts. The candidate should be able to give an account of the main professional, ethical challenges and exhibit the relevant understanding for the subject and its corresponding area of responsibility.

In the case of a fail grade for a work assignment the student will be given two new opportunities within the course of the studies. Work assignments and the practical experience studies must receive passing grades before the student will be permitted to sit the examination. More information regarding the various programme requirements may be found in an attachment to the curriculum which is handed out at the start of the studies.

Student attendance and special rules regarding attendance

All the teaching sessions and organised supervision are regarded as necessary learning activities. The organised learning activities will mainly be supplementary, provide different perspectives, and discuss relevant topics and methods in relation to the syllabus literature. Scientific understanding and experienced-based learning will to a great extent characterise the teaching in relation to the specific topics. It is expected that the fact-based knowledge will to a great extent be acquired by the student independently, so that they will be prepared to participate in reflections and discussions during the course of studies. Obligatory attendance will be required for the following parts of the study programme:

  • Study and supervision groups
  • Exercises in connection with relational skills
  • Clinical studies
  • Project and methods teaching
  • Project examination

Within the above areas it is required that students have 75% attendance.

For clinical studies 90% attendance is required, irrespective of the reasons for absence.

Control of attendance:

With regard to study/supervision groups and communication exercises, attendance will be registered by using standardised attendance lists.

With regard to clinical studies absence will be reported on the assessment form.
Consequences of insufficient attendance:

If the student does not fulfil the attendance requirement in the study group then the student in question must submit for approval a written assignment on a topic which has been discussed in the group. If the attendance requirement has not been met in the supervision group the student will not be given a certificate of supervision which confirms participation in the supervision.

If the student does not fulfil the attendance requirement in the project examination, then he/she will be assessed as “not approved”. The student must then write a new project within the deadline set by the supervisor.

If a student has less than 75% attendance in the clinical studies, then the student must redo this part of the study programme.

If the student has less than 90% attendance, but more than 75%, then the student must compensate the number of days short when this has been agreed on.

The head of the department may under special circumstances dispense with the attendance regulations.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Sigrunn Ø. Gundersen <Sigrunn.O.GundersenSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Elin Nordbø - 18/04/2008