iHV SCPHN Student Health Visitor Award winners 2023 speak with Amanda Holland, iHV Professional Services Lead, on their incredible new ideas for service provision

In March 2023, iHV announced a new award open to Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) health visitor students who are iHV members. The award was developed to celebrate new talent joining the health visitor workforce and to showcase new ideas for service provision. Students and Higher Education Institutions, who provide SCPHN education programmes, were invited to submit to the iHV Student Award 2023, and all submissions were of a very high quality. The winners of the iHV Student Award 2023 were announced in August – read more here.

In this short series of podcasts Amanda Holland, iHV Professional Services Lead, talks with 2023 award winners Leonie Grundy, Claire Black and Robin Williams.

We are delighted to share their amazing work and look forward to hearing their progress as newly qualified health visitor. We are also thrilled that Leonie and Claire are now co-chairs of the iHV SCPHN Student Health Visitor Networking Events. See here for more details.

Leonie Grundy

Leonie Grundy shares how she led activities to film a series of evidence-based safe sleep demonstrations for use on social media, within antenatal classes, and safe sleep training.

Claire Black

Claire Black discusses how she worked collaboratively with other professionals to meet the nutritional needs and food preferences of Afghan families.
Please note – in this podcast, the term ‘weaning’ is used and refers to complementary feeding. These terms continue to be used interchangeably, however, we recognise ‘complementary feeding’ as the preferred term in accordance with WHO.


Robin Williams

Robin Williams talks about how she identified a gap in the involvement of fathers in home visits by health visitors and her initiative to engage and include fathers.

In March 2023, iHV announced a new award open to Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) health visitor students who are iHV members. The award was developed to celebrate new talent joining the health visitor workforce and to showcase new ideas for service provision. Students and Higher Education Institutions, who provide SCPHN education programmes, were invited to submit to the iHV Student Award 2023. The judging panel met in July 2023 to deliberate on submissions which were all of a very high quality. We are delighted to announce the winner and runners up for this year’s award.

Huge congratulations from all at iHV to the iHV SCPHN Award 2023 winners:

  • 1st place was awarded to Leonie Grundy
  • 2nd place was awarded to Claire Black
  • Joint 3rd place was awarded to Robin Williams and Jane Guy.

Leonie Grundy and her academic supervisor have been awarded a place at the iHV Evidence-based Conference in Manchester on 21 September 2023, where Leonie will also present on her innovation.

Thank you to the recipients of the iHV SCPHN Student Award 2023 for providing the below biographies on how they came to be SCPHN student health visitors and their new ideas for service provision.

1st Place – Leonie Grundy

Leonie Grundy

Leonie Grundy is a SCPHN health visitor student at Manchester Metropolitan University and employee of Wrightington Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She has been a registered nurse for 5 years prior to working in health visiting, with a staff nurse background in the emergency department and the 0-19 team. Leonie has aspired to become a health visitor since her 2nd year placement as a student nurse in 2016, where she enjoyed supporting vulnerable families during the transition to parenthood. Leonie applied for the SCPHN training after returning to work from giving birth to her second son. Once her family was complete, she felt it was the ideal time to focus on achieving her aspiration to become a health visitor.

During the SCPHN course, Leonie often found that during universal home visits babies were observed sleeping in unsafe positions and environments and some families did not seem to fully understand the risks. She decided to research the topic further as part of an assignment for the University’s SCPHN course module, Empowering Public Health, finding a gap in public health information. Leonie found that current information on safe sleep messages did not meet the needs of all parents, particularly those who may have difficulties reading, understanding, and retaining evidence-based information. As part of the course module, Leonie approached senior leaders within the Trust and presented her ideas to film a series of evidence-based safe sleep demonstrations, for use on social media, within antenatal classes and safe sleep training. The aim would be to meet the health literacy needs all families.

Leonie worked in partnership with multiple agencies and community assets to develop this initiative and has since presented her ideas at the trust DQEG (Divisional Quality Executive Group) meeting and gained full support from senior management to push the project further to reach its full potential. Leonie is extremely passionate about safer sleep and believes that if her project can change one family’s decision on a safe sleep space, this will reduce the risks of sudden infant death. Leonie submitted her abstract to the iHV with the hope that more people would hear the message that safe sleep saves lives.

On winning first place in the first ever iHV SCPHN Student Awards, Leonie said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to be the winner of the iHV SCPHN award at the start of my career in health visiting. It is a privilege, and I am excited for a long and purposeful career.”


2nd place – Claire Black

Claire Black

Claire began her career in health care in 2012 as a Midwifery Assistant at the Countess of Chester Hospital, providing care and support to women and families; as well as supporting midwives. In 2015, Claire was seconded onto the Midwifery degree course. She studied at the University of Chester and gained a 1st Class Honours Degree. Following graduation, Claire commenced as a registered midwife at the Countess of Chester Hospital, rotating between the central labour suite and the antenatal and postnatal wards, and after 3 years took a post with the community midwifery team. Claire particularly enjoyed providing continuity of care which gave her an insight into the public health promotion aspect of the role and multi-agency working, where she gained an insight into the role of the health visitor. This sparked her desire to apply for a place on the SCPHN course.

During the course, Claire participated in a project relating to the Government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy Scheme. Claire and the 0-19 team were able to conduct holistic assessments and identified a clear need for advocating for families; in relation to weaning and availability of nutritious food for their children and themselves. By working collaboratively with other professionals, such as public health nutritionists, the accommodation staff were guided and able to provide appropriate weaning foods and items more relevant to the cultural choices and preferences of the Afghan families. To support the implementation of the weaning station, Claire delivered educational sessions discussing weaning guidance and oral health. Claire co-facilitated open advice clinics for on-going support and monitoring of the growth of the children.

On winning her award, Claire said:

“When I received the email informing me that my abstract had been awarded 2nd place, I was so pleased. Being able to share this recognition for the amazing teamwork involved in supporting the Afghan families was fantastic.”

Joint 3rd Place – Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Robin was born to Guyanese parents and has four other siblings. While in Guyana, her career included roles as a teacher at her former high school, a television and radio journalist, and an assistant librarian at the University of Guyana.

Robin holds two bachelor’s degrees – one in Public Communication from the University of Guyana and the other in Adult Nursing from the University of Hertfordshire. She began her nursing career as an adult nurse in the endoscopy unit at Lister Hospital. She went on to become the first student to have an elective placement at the research department where she subsequently secured a secondment with the National Institute of Health Research and East & North Herts Trust.

As a mother of one, Robin pursued an interest in public health and, following a successful application, started her journey as a student Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) health visitor in September 2022 with the Hertfordshire Community Trust and the University of Hertfordshire. As part of the course and the leadership module, Robin identified a gap in the involvement of fathers in the home visits conducted by health visitors and submitted a presentation on her initiative to engage and include fathers entitled, ‘ Stepping out of the shadows and into conversations.’ With mentorship from her university lecturer, Karen Afford, Robin was supported to submit an abstract of her initiative to the iHV SCPHN Student Award.

Upon notification of her award, Robin said:

“I am ecstatic to be a recipient of the first SCPHN award as I have read many of the Institute of Health Visiting reports and articles. I find the information available through the IHV to be evidence-based, current, and easy to read, understand and apply. I am totally ecstatic and grateful for this SCPHN Award!”

Joint 3rd Place – Jane Guy

Jane Guy

Jane qualified as a registered nurse (adult) in 2000 and has since gained experience in a variety of nursing posts, including acute medicine, neurological rehabilitation, GP practice, 111 and most recently in school-aged immunisations. Health promotion and a desire to empower others to make positive health choices became a real passion. However, it was following the birth of her own children that Jane realised her future lay in health visiting. It was through the support of her own health visitor that Jane was able to successfully breastfeed her own children and also to help set up a breastfeeding peer support group. This inspired Jane and, in 2022, she embarked upon her SCPHN training at the University of Wolverhampton and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

It was during her SCPHN training that Jane noticed the growing number of referrals to speech and language therapy following 2-year development reviews. Speech delay was often not picked up until this point, meaning that earlier opportunities to aid speech development and identify concerns were being missed. Jane felt there were missed opportunities for health visitors to promote the importance of “talking to baby” antenatally and beyond, not only for speech development but also for bonding and attachment. Therefore, Jane proposed a leaflet to be placed in the red book, highlighting important milestones in language development and ideas for parents. A QR code linking to an existing trust website set up by Speech and Language Therapy signposts parents to further advice, evidence-based activities, and an online referral form. It is proposed that health visitors will discuss this leaflet and promote speech development at each contact, beginning with the antenatal visit. Early intervention would improve the long-term outcomes for the child, ensuring school readiness as well as reducing speech and language referrals.

Jane commented on her award:

“I feel very proud and excited to have been awarded joint third place, thank you.  My trust are very keen for me to take my initiative forward, so it is a very exciting time, especially so close to qualifying.”

Calling all SCPHN Student iHV members!

Have you  booked your place for next week’s iHV Insights event: SCPHN Students: Preceptorship and beyond on Thursday 17 August, 15:30-16:30? And we hope you can join us for a 15-minute networking session afterwards.

This is open to all iHV members.

The transition from SCPHN student to a fully-qualified health visitor, with the responsibility of lone working and managing your own demanding caseload, is an exciting but also daunting time. We understand from the research, and from what members have told us, that this can be a very stressful, anxiety-provoking period of your health visiting career. Therefore, this SCPHN Health Visiting Student Insights Event aims to support your transition with relevant information, coping strategies and top tips.