Medacs Healthcare

AUG 30/2012

Government highlights importance of school nurses

Demand for the school nursing service may be about to increase, after the government revealed plans to promote children's awareness of the scheme.

Anyone working in school nursing jobs will undoubtedly welcome the increased exposure and the government's recognition of the important work they do.

Under the new plans, children starting secondary school will be encouraged to get to know their school nurse so that they feel confident about seeking help and advice when they need it.

A series of eye-catching promotional materials have been developed with input from the British Youth Council and the North West Regional Youth Work Unit, with a view to promoting the services that are available.

Schools will also have access to materials to help them make presentations about the school nursing service at assemblies or parents' evenings.

In a statement, the Department of Health said that school nurses play a "crucial role in improving the physical and emotional health of children and young people".

Public health minister Anne Milton said that the government wants to make it easier for children to use the school nursing service and get good advice on their health.

"One of the keys to this is to make pupils aware of what school nurses can do for them and how to find them," she explained.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, welcomed the Department of Health's plans and its acknowledgement of the crucial role played by school nurses.

However, he warned that the service is already overstretched and called for more resources to ensure demand for school nurses can be met.

"To ensure that is not just empty rhetoric, the government needs to deliver the investment that this essential service needs," he insisted.

Staff can enter school nursing jobs straight after initial registration, although some roles require experience as a registered nurse first.

Anyone considering a job in this field should try to shadow a school nurse to get a better idea of the role, while experience of working with children is likely to be advantageous.

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