School nurses work across education and health, providing a link between school, home and the community.
Their aim is improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people. They work with families, parents and young people from five to nineteen and are usually linked to a school or group of schools.
What does a school nurse do?
The work of a school nurse covers lots of different areas, ranging from acne to sexual exploitation, self-harm to sleep problems - all those issues centred around the physical and emotional health of children.
They support children, parents, and carers to ensure they have access to a range of services, including:
- Support schools to prioritise health needs within their school community
- Produce termly newsletters – one for Primary Schools and one for High Schools
- Attend community events
- Provide hearing and vision screening in Reception
- Take growth measurements as part of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) in Reception and Year 6
- Offer weekly confidential ‘drop ins’ for pupils in secondary schools
- Give health advice, signposting and referrals around a broad range of health topics
Suffolk’s School Nurses also offer more bespoke services for children and families who might need a little bit of extra support. They deliver ongoing support in partnership with a range of local services who are working together with the child and their family to deal with more complex issues over a longer period of time. Support is provided around behaviour, substance misuse, anxiety/stress, low self-esteem, sexual health advice.
How do I contact my school nurse?
Text: The virtual School Nursing service ChatHealth (more info below) is a quick and easy way to contact the School Nursing team. The number to do this is 07507 333 356. Normal text rates apply.
You can also find the details of your Health Visiting team in your red book.
With more and more children, young people and their families using mobile phones to oversee their daily lives, the Suffolk School Nursing service provides a virtual school nurse as part of their service.
ChatHealth is an easy way for parents, carers, and young people to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues, or make an appointment with a school nurse. They can also find out how to access other local services including emotional support and sexual health services.
Parents and pupils who have already used the ChatHealth service have said they like using the messaging service because it is less embarrassing, quick and easy, anonymous and non-judgemental.
Text messages sent to the dedicated number (07507 333 356) are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by the Suffolk School Nursing team. The service is available Monday to Friday 09:00 – 16:30, excluding bank holiday. Out of hours, anyone who texts the service receives a ‘bounce-back’ message that explains where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect to get a response. Texts are replied to within one working day. Texts are charged at normal local rate.
School Nurse Case Study
Nikki, a School Nurse, saw Simon in school following a referral from his Year Head. Simon had been feeling anxious about his GCSE exams and couldn’t concentrate on his studies. He was also starting to have difficulty sleeping and had stopped spending time with his friends outside of school. Nikki carried out her assessment and also discussed Simon with a Primary Mental Health Worker. Together, they came up with a plan to address the different issues.
When talking about the support available to Simon, a group for pupils experiencing exam stress was identified. Nikki supported Simon to attend this group, which he found extremely useful. He was able to put into practice some of the strategies learnt from Nikki and from the group, which reduced his anxiety enabling him to concentrate on his revision.