I am a Health Visitor and proud !!(65 Posts)
After being on 2 seperate threads today, where yet again all H/V tarred with same brush .I just want to say that I love my job and couldn't Imagine doing anything different. Today at a routine development review a little boy took his first steps - how privileged was I to have seen that . Same privileged feeling when you visit a new baby and family.
Yes, like most jobs there are the Downsides , this me it is the volume and sometimes overwhelmingness of the safeguarding ( and ridiculous recording systems ) which sadly can take over from the public health role at times. but I Work in a great forward thinking team, with people with expertise from so many backgrounds, there is always something new to learn or update . Keeps me young !
I’m glad you are a good one.
I’ve had several excellent and caring HVs, one who gently came back to visit when I was sad and a bit hopeless with my second child. I’m ever grateful to her for being kind (I know she was doing her job, she just did it well).
I’ve also heard HVs give terrible advice about feeding (a nine month old baby only needs two breastfeeds a day! Give them vegetables if they ask otherwise. Whaaat?) Like all professions, there are good eggs, and bad. We need to complain about the bad ones. Maybe we should also celebrate the good ones more.
There have been a few goady HV threads today. Chin up, OP.
Excellent HV get promoted out of client work. There are so many instances of poor advice. Stay at your job OP!!
Glad you had a good experience, and yes there does seem to be some difference In practice. We have it drilled into us that everything is evidence based including introducing solids ! i agree that people should report so poor practice is addressed.
I've had 3 children with quite a reasonable gap and all the health visitors were amazing. No bad experience at all.
I bloody loved my last health visitor. She was a dream and came to see us once just because she was being promoted and wanted to see DS before she went. I saw her once more long after that in a professional capacity and she remembered not only me and DS but his older brothers too and asked after them and specific questions about how they were. She was fantastic and I'd trust her opinion on anything to do with my children. Even though one of them is an adult now!
Nice to hear some positives , thanks !
I have two children, with experiences of health visitors in two different areas of England. I have never had bad experiences. They have always been very helpful and I have nothing but praise for the ones I have come into contact with.
I loved my first and third health visitor! Health visitors get a bad name....because of ones like my 2nd! I believe they are few and far between though!
My 2nd HV actually checked my fridge and freezer! She said my baby was far too heavy. She was on 90th centile for weight, but also for height! She followed that line from birth!
She then asked what I am feeding her! I told HV She had porridge for breakfast, salad for lunch and a home cooked tea balanced and correct portions.
The words she used shocked me... 'in an ideal world we all like to think we feed our children the right foods when really it is chicken nuggets and chips'
I joked and said 'you can check my fridge if you like, my partner is a chef and wouldn't dream of having frozen, processed food in house'
She got up and asked me to show her!
I did show her and then told her firmly to leave my property and do not return.
I was a mum with PND and already felt like a failure as I had to stop BF 8 months sooner than I planned.
When she left I spent hours holding my tears in until DP got home to watch DD whilst i went upstairs sobbing!
We complained and we were told DD was perfect size and the HV will be dealt with!
So to all the HV out there who care about mums and babies I salute you!
Alas I had a very bad experience. The context of what happened left me wondering how stupid a situation it was. How experienced was that HV? Have they never had any experience of the situation I was in?
In general I have a very poor opinion of medical/nursing people as a result.
In reality I am sure there must be intelligent caring HVs somewhere. When other nurses hear of my experiences they are concerned about making sure they don't cause any more problems. I don't think the HV in question was ever set straight on the wrong doing.
I have had two HV's with my DD the first was for the first 6months and the second I've had for the last 10. They were/are both fantastic.
Always helpful, give me great support!
I can't praise my HV enough. I imagine like any profession there will be some bad and some good but mine has been amazing.
I had a useless one initially but the one after that was amazing! She helped us loads.
My health visitor is absolutely brilliant and it saddens me when I hear other people don't have the same experience. She is just so helpful, honest and genuinely caring.
I had two great ones and it turned out most of the others weren't in fact HVs, just gobshite baby-weighers. Though it was a HV I asked where I might get help with breastfeeding, all the local NCT/LLL reps having moved and the hospital consultant having a 3-week waiting list, hoping there were milk spot cafe type places somewhere in the city. HV said she'd never heard of anyone advising on bf let alone groups to go to and just use a bottle. (in the last decade).
I mentioned this to lovely HV who later said that muppet HV had been thwapped with flyers about all local bf support. And soon retired.
Lovely HV would ask to come over and get my opinion on various surveys she was supposed to do and do user-testing for her, which was great being treated like a person again.
Your post seems full of what the job gives you. Ability to be at children’s special moments, first steps, early days, being part of a great team, and feeling young. That’s lovely, it really is, for you. Lots of jobs provide satisfaction, the ONLY reason to be positive about HV is if they help their clients, not because they enjoy their work.
I love my HV. She's been most reassuring and it's so nice to know there's someone there in the background for support if you need them. She cut through all the bullshit of current parenting trends and supported me in doing things my own way. It's a great service and we should be grateful for it while it lasts.
I love my health visitor, I couldn't have asked for a better one
I have prem twins, first time mum and my HV has been fab. She's been to see us oodles and oodles of times just because I felt I needed the contact for reassurance due to low confidence and anxiety and honestly I cannot fault her at all. Really trust her and can easily talk to her about anything. Twins are 14m now and she visited last week! I have family around me but I liked the unbiased neutral contact.
What you may realise OP (but sadly in my experience many do not) is the HUGE responsibility you have. You are often the only medical 'professionals' that new mums come into contact with. Babies don't come with a manual, they don't all follow the same pattern and it is emotionally very hard. Giving poor advice in those circumstances can have really detrimental effects.
My HV simply didn't know what she was talking about (although I didn't know it at the time) but such was the impact of her advice, I made a formal complaint and the trust said it would change it's training.
I was also telephoned by another HV who told me my daughter was due to have a heart operation the following day. Everything was correct, her first name, being a twin, the heart defect etc although I had been told by her consultant the week before that an OP was no longer required. I had a full on meltdown. Only after about 20 minutes of going through the process did I realise she had mixed my daughter up with someone else. She 'didn't have the file in front of her and hadn't read all of the details', she apparently 'didn't have time'. She didn't even apologise.
I'm sorry OP but it's not about what you get out of the job. It's about what new mums should get out of the service you provide, and whilst I know there must be some good HVs somewhere, I have never encountered one despite having 3 children.
It’s great that you love your job OP. There’s possibly some misrepresentation online because people will tend to post negatives rather than the positives. I don’t think I’ve come across a “My HV is wonderful” thread. I’ve had good experiences and bad.
Like a PP said, the HV is the only medical professional a new parent/ Mum will encounter and not all parents will have the confidence to place HV advice within the context of their child.
Sadly I have also been advised that at 7 months, my BF baby only needed 2 feeds a day! There was no way I’d have been able to enforce that and I would have gone crazy trying to do so, not to mention the effect it would have had on my baby. Plus, this advice wasn’t the same as a written sample weaning schedule they gave me.
I’m still surprised and disturbed that a HV told me that the way to do controlled crying with my older child (who, as a baby, would vomit from crying and often would vomit during meals from trapped wind or gagging, so had a low threshold for vomiting in general) would include dealing with any vomiting from the “controlled” crying by just cleaning him up with some baby wipes and leaving him in his cot. I wonder how many of us would be content with sleeping in our wiped down but vomited on pyjamas?! And I also know that this would not be controlled crying. Maybe the HV didn’t believe me, or at least that’s how it came across. Who would want to sleep amidst the smell of vomit in vomit stained clothes and bedlinen.
However, I’ve had enough insight to feel more confident in my abilities and use my instincts. I would still ask a HV for advice as my local and accessible “expert” with respect to my child but as a fellow health professional I also hope that I can pick out the clearly bonkers and cruel advice from the sound advice.
My HV got me through what I now recognise as bad PND. Out of 3 pregnancies I was lucky enough to have her for 2 of them. She not only gave me good advice but listened to me which was so important at the time.
She’s still a gem and when I had our youngest she called in (I saw her in a local shop with DC3 in the pram) even though she had retired to see how I was doing.
The HV I got the last time was also lovely and acknowledged that I knew what I was doing with DD and was more concerned with me and my own mental health - that alone was enough for me.
Good health visitors are life savers imo and I’m glad to see good ones around!
whatever I have to say that it is positive about my role it , it will be pulled apart by some.
I don’t have all the answers , but I am confident that I do do my best to support and yes , help families. If I am unsure about a situation / condition then I would tell a parent that , as well as letting them know that I would try and find out more / sign post / support them on as appropriate ,
To say I don’t realise the Responsibility is simply not true and not one that you can assume about me .Absolutely the service is for families , but part of my commitment to ensuring I can help families the best I can and keep up to date with ever changing guidelines is because I enjoy doing it .
I am truly sorry about peoples bad experiences , but I’m not sorry for saying I enjoy my job !
My HV was lovely. I don't think she gave me bad advice and she was jolly and sensible. I liked her a lot.
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