How will you raise your school nursing roar?
In light of International Nurses Day 2021, Sharon White reflects on the importance of the school and public health nurse role, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of children and young people.
On 12 May, Florence Nightingale's birthday, we celebrated International Nurses' Day. This is an annual event through which we can proudly showcase our globally significant nursing role; this year feeling never more poignant and for most, celebrated in a ‘light touch’ fashion.
The worldwide pandemic has affected each and everyone of us on a personal and/or professional level. Many have encountered direct or indirect loss of loved ones, colleagues, health, wellbeing, homes and jobs, and have witnessed death and dying at a pace never seen before. I have heard it described by some as a ‘nurse's nemesis’.
The initial ‘all hands to the pumps' siren call meant that many school and public health nurses were redeployed in the first wave of COVID-19. Our warnings to those making this shift soon became tragic fact. School nurses and other child health professionals were removed from ‘the other frontline’ of caring for school-aged children and families, who were out of sight from school/professionals and many were suffering increased abuse, neglect, destitution, loneliness and loss (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 2020). The real impact is yet to be fully understood, but early findings show a bleak picture of complex sustained safeguarding cases, and a significant rise in self-harm, eating disorders, poverty and more (Barnardo's, 2021).
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