The work of school nurses should bridge health, education and social care boundaries

The role of the school nurse has changed significantly in recent years and schools recognise the valuable service that nurses provide to their pupils. However, the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) found in one of their surveys that many young people were not aware that their school had a school nurse or what the school nursing service can offer. School nurses and their teams are uniquely placed to help children and young people fulfil their potential because they bridge health, education and social care boundaries. School nurses offer early intervention and provide an accessible, confidential and non-stigmatising service, something which children, young people and their families have said is very important. School nurses are at the forefront of developing universal services that support Every Child Matters outcomes; helping children to be healthy, stay safe, to enjoy and achieve, to make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing. One of the aims of the service is to reduce health inequalities by helping all children make healthy choices and address the wider influences that can undermine these choices. Working with Healthy Schools and extended schools provides new opportunities to develop services for children, young people and their families. School nurses and their teams also directly contribute to achieving better outcomes both in terms of individual work that they undertake with children and young people in providing one-to-one advice, and in their wider contributions to the Healthy Schools programme, to personal, social and health education (PSHE) and local child-centred public health initiatives.

School nurse leaflet

In 2006 the NCB facilitated a group of young people to design a leaflet and poster advertising the services provided by the school nurse. The leaflet provides clear information to young people about the services and response they can expect from the school nurse. It also informs them of how to make contact. The Department of Health and DfES welcomed this opportunity to promote school nursing. Young people need to know who their school nurse is. Through knowing how to contact a school nurse, young people are being empowered to take responsibility for their own health.