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Study plan - Master in Public Health Nursing

Autumn 2023

The public health nursing education aims to qualify candidates who can engage in health-promoting, preventive, and change-focused work at individual, group, system, and community levels. The primary target group is children, youth, and their families/caregivers. The main arenas are health clinics, school health services, and youth health clinics.

Upon completion of the education, the candidate should be able to contribute to promoting mental and physical health, promoting good social and environmental conditions, preventing diseases and injuries, level out social health differences, and preventing, detecting, and hindering violence, abuse, and neglect. The candidate should be able to promote informed health choices and contribute to the well-being and quality of life of the target group. The candidate should be capable of implementing interventions and making referrals as needed.

The public health nurse is a key figure in community-based health promotion and prevention work, providing expertise in health-related areas. The public health nurse should contribute to equal service offerings, including recognizing the indigenous Sami people's status and their rights. This involves working in a culturally sensitive manner and contributing to tailored linguistic and cultural services.

The candidate should be capable of taking responsibility for independent, systematic, clinical assessments, prioritizations, and decisions. The candidate should ensure quality and user participation, evaluate their own work, and adapt practices as appropriate. The candidate should establish secure relationships through communication, guidance, and interdisciplinary/interagency/intersectoral collaboration. This requires exercising professional judgment in accordance with ethical guidelines.

The public health nursing education is practice-oriented and research-based, aiming to meet societal demands for equitable and knowledge-based services. After completing the education, the candidate should be able to contribute to the sustainable development of the healthcare service in line with global, demographic, social, environmental, and technological changes.

The public health nursing education is based on the Regulation for National Guidelines for Public Health Nursing Education.

The regulation applies to universities and colleges that provide public health nursing education and are accredited under the Universities and Colleges Act § 1-2 and § 3-1. The regulation applies to public health nursing education of 90 and 120 ECTS credits. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure a nationally equivalent level of expertise, so that graduates have a common final competence regardless of the educational institution.

The public health nursing education is built on a bachelor's degree in nursing or equivalent and Norwegian authorization as a nurse. Completion of the 120 ECTS credit public health nursing education leads to a master's degree in public health nursing and qualifies for work as a public health nurse. Candidates with 120 ECTS credits can identify relevant research areas and contriute to the development of new knowledge within health clinics and school health services.

Candidates who choose to complete 90 ECTS credits have completed advanced education in public health nursing and also qualify for work as a public health nurse.

The study program consists of 8 subjects (120 ECTS credits). Candidates who choose to complete 90 ECTS credits take 7 subjects:

HEL510 Public Health Work
HEL511 Children, Youth, and Their Families
HEL512 Communication, Relationship, and Interaction
HELP1 Practical Studies, Part 1 and Part 2
HEL514 Leadership, Service Improvement, and Innovation
MAMET1HE Scientific Theory, Ethics, and Method
HEL515 Research and Professional Development - Project Plan
*HEL590 Master's Thesis

*subject is for those completing 120 ECTS credits.

Learning outcomes

A candidate with the following overall learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills, and general competence:

The candidate...

  • possesses advanced knowledge of health promotion and preventive work at the individual, group, and population levels.
  • has in-depth knowledge of current legislation, national professional guidelines, political directives, and administrative tools that shape the framework for health promotion and preventive work in municipal health and care services.
  • has advanced knowledge of the physical, mental, sexual, and social health and development of infants, children, and youth.
  • possesses detailed knowledge of protective and risk factors affecting children and youth.
  • has in-depth knowledge of attachment and interaction, family function, needs, and challenges, and can identify deviations, assess, and follow up on families.
  • has advanced knowledge of communication and relationship-building.
  • has specialized knowledge of interaction, interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration, and service coordination at the individual, group, and system levels.
  • possesses detailed knowledge of inclusion, gender equality, and non-discrimination, regardless of gender, language, ethnicity, religion and belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, and family structure.

The candidate...

  • can use relevant sources and a knowledge-based approach for systematic public health work, including understanding the significance of influencing factors.
  • can identify needs for, map, initiate, and carry out infection control work, including childhood vaccination programs.
  • can apply evidence-based methods to promote informed health choices, coping, and quality of life for children, youth, and their families/caregivers.
  • can prevent, detect, and follow up on physical and mental health issues in children and youth.
  • can independently provide guidance on, prescribe, and administer contraceptives, including long-acting contraceptives.
  • can use evidence-based and health pedagogical methods in health education, guidance, and counseling.
  • can analyze sources, clinical, professional, and ethical issues with implications for public health nursing practice.
  • can plan and conduct independent professional development work.
  • can carry out limited scientific work in accordance with research ethics guidelines.*

General Competence:
The candidate...

  • can apply knowledge and skills concerning the specific needs of indigenous peoples, migrants, and minorities and applies a culturally sensitive approach to work.
  • can plan and implement measures to reduce social inequalities in health.
  • can analyze professional issues with medical and healthcare personnel and other professional groups to contribute to sound health services for children, youth, and their families/caregivers.
  • can facilitate user participation at the individual, group, and system levels.
  • can apply their knowledge and skills to manage their own work, analyze their competence, and have insight into the expertise of other professions and the services of agencies and sectors.
  • can use their knowledge and skills to access relevant research-based knowledge and critically evaluate quality, results, conclusions, and assess transferability and implications for their own practice.
  • *can identify relevant research areas and contribute to the development of new knowledge within their field.

*not applicable for the 90 ECTS credit Advanced Practice in Public Health Nursing


The study is a campus-based full-time program in Bergen, with 5-8 weeks of gatherings each semester. The organization of subjects and the sequence of subjects are planned based on a learning logic and perspective that starts with fundamental concepts, knowledge, and understanding of health promotion and prevention, children and youth health and development, then expands knowledge, skills, and competence through subsequent subjects.

HEL512, Communication, Relationship, and Interaction, will begin in semester 1, continue in semester 2, with examination early in semester 3, and with this structure, contribute to the students' optimal preparation before practice.

MAMET1HE is a fully digital subject conducted in semester 2. In the same semester, students write a project plan.


The practice study consists of two sub-courses (part I and part II), conducted in semester 2 (four weeks) and semester 3 (six weeks).

According to paragraph 23 of the regulation, the practice study consists of a minimum of 10 weeks. Any skills training is additional. Through the practice study, students will gain varied experience in working with different age groups, target groups, and issues within health clinics and school health services and youth health clinics. There are currently practice agreements between HVL and several municipalities related to the existing master's program in clinical nursing, specialization public health nursing.

HVL is responsible for supervising students in practice, staying updated on the practice site's issues, and assisting in pedagogical matters, including planning learning activities, supervision methodology, and evaluation. The practice site is responsible for daily guidance and follow-up of students, ensuring that the practice supervisor is of the same profession as the one being supervised. The practice supervisor should have relevant professional knowledge and, as a rule, formal supervision competence.

A 90% attendance rate is required in the practice study (HVL).
As a general rule, Høgskulen på Vestlandet HVL assigns practice placements to students.


Teaching methods in the program reflect the learning outcome descriptions and the assessment methods used in each subject. Through various teaching methods, students are expected to acquire the learning outcomes.

The teaching methods used include lectures, skills training, simulation, seminars, group work, clinical studies/practice studies, online learning, and self-study. Through student-active learning forms, students are expected to take responsibility for their own and their peers' academic development and learning to achieve the learning outcomes. Discussions, arguments, and oral presentations are emphasized in the teaching. Critical reflection on the connections between theoretical perspectives and professional practice is highlighted, and students are expected to apply experiences and reflections from the practice studies. Therefore, the program is designed for students to work both individually and in groups. Canvas is used as a study support system.

Parts of the teaching are common for several study paths, and this will be indicated in the timetable. Scheduled joint teaching is organized in gatherings that largely combine resource lectures with student-active learning forms.

Compulsory learning activities are mentioned in the descriptions of each subject and involve written papers, oral presentations, skills training, peer responses, participation in base groups, compulsory supervision, as well as assignment and master's seminars.


Based on expected learning outcomes, academic content, pedagogical methods, and teaching forms, students will encounter various assessment methods throughout the program. The assessment methods should serve a continuous process with a two-fold purpose: promote learning and document that the student has achieved the learning outcomes.

Compulsory learning activities include all forms of mandatory assignments and activities that are prerequisites for taking the exam. In this program, compulsory learning activities include:

  • Written assignments
  • Presentation of individual work in plenary
  • Participation in online learning forms and tests
  • Participation in skills training and simulation
  • Compulsory supervision on assignments and participation in assignment seminars
  • Compulsory supervision on the master's thesis and participation in the master's thesis seminars

Students receive written and/or oral feedback from instructors and/or peers on the written submissions.

All compulsory requirements must be approved before the student is allowed to take the exam in the subject.

Students are assessed based on the learning outcomes of the subject. The following assessment methods are used in the program:

  • Group examination
  • Oral individual/group examination
  • Written exam under supervision
  • Individual home exam
  • Practice assessment
  • Master's thesis

Required progression

All compulsory learning activities must be approved before the student is allowed to take the exam in the subject. The content and extent of compulsory education are outlined in the subject plan. Some subjects have prerequisite requirements.

To submit the master's thesis, all preceding subjects must be passed. Refer to the subject description for more information.


HVL has a broad focus on internationalization with student and faculty exchange programs and research collaborations. In connection with the master's thesis, students can be included in staff research projects and international cooperation initiatives. If a student is affiliated with an international research collaboration, it may be relevant to have co-supervisors from the respective collaborating institutions involved in the work on the master's thesis.

The program is a part of the Nordplus Network Nordsne and has cooperation agreements with institutions in Sweden, Iceland, and Latvia. The subject HEL514 Leadership, Service Improvement, and Innovation, will be offered to exchange students and will also contribute to local internationalization efforts.