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Getting it right for children, young people and families.

The recently published Getting it right for children, young people and families is a comprehensive vision from the Department of Health in England of what school nursing could and should deliver, based on the Healthy Child Programme 5-19 years. The title 'school nurse' is intended to cover all those who work in public health with children and young people. The Department of Health has scoped a wide variety of opinions, from professionals and users to come up with some basic themes such as:

* School nurses need to be more visible within the school community

* Students and parents need to be able to contact their school nurse

* School nurses should offer early help to support young people.

The document is written for those in the know and for those who don't know what school nurses are capable of, with a clear description of the fundamental role emphasising 'leading, delivering and evaluating preventative services and universal public health programmes'.

The service model has been developed in tandem with the health visiting programme. There are four levels, with safeguarding as a theme through all levels, outlining a continuum of support which children should expect from the school nurse: community, universal, universal plus, universal partnership plus.

The core aim of the model is to ensure that all children and young people have access to the service, regardless of the setting in which they find themselves. This means not only schools and high street teenage drop-ins but also hospitals and young offender institutions. As the issues become more complex, school nurses will be part of teams providing on-going additional support for vulnerable children. The success of the service will be measured using public health outcomes: improved vaccination cover, better emotional health of looked after children, and reduced school absences, hospital admissions for deliberate injuries, tooth decay, childhood obesity, teenage conception, sexually transmitted infections and drug and alcohol misuse. These may be added to when the Children's Outcomes Strategy reports.


There is a slightly rose-tinted description of the numbers of school nurses as this is done on headcount rather than our preferred measure of whole time equivalent. We know that very many school nurses work part time.

Part three, a 'Call to Action' is interesting reading. Here is the plan for how this is to roll out over the next couple of years. Everyone must become involved, from national government to education establishments to local commissioners and above all school nurses themselves. The recent questionnaire CPHVA sent out showed that most of you thought school nursing is 'the best job in the world'; and now we have to promote that to the rest of the world.

Those of you who have heard me speak will recognise my mantra: 'Do not underestimate what people don't know about school nursing'. Please invite me to your school nurse meetings and CPHVA meetings to talk about how we are going to run with this programme.

Rosalind Godson, Professional Officer, Unite Health Sector
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Title Annotation:ASSOCIATION
Author:Godson, Rosalind
Publication:Community Practitioner
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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