Never more relevant, never more needed
School and public health nurses have never been more relevant and more needed than now. While there is still a dearth of resources and funding for school nursing services, other funding sources might be accessible, Sharon White explains.
There have been times in the past when the title ‘public health nurse’ has resulted in negative connotations from the media and the public, associating our workforce with sanitation and head lice alone! And while these two examples are indeed elements, our wider role comprises health promotion, prevention and protection of school-aged children, families and community.
Right now we need to amplify, celebrate and embrace our postgraduate public health nursing qualifications, experience, leadership, knowledge and skills and optimise its use; it has never been more needed! Who else provides that crucial link between home and school, is trusted and known by children young people, families and schools, and, crucially during COVID-19, is an expert in the field of infection prevention and control?
During COVID-19, I have had the opportunity to deliver education webinars to thousands of senior school leaders and their staff on trauma-informed practice, understanding and implementing the Department for Education (DfE) COVID-19 policy and ‘systems of control’ regarding health protection, our ‘unseen, unheard, unknown’ safeguarding challenges and much more. Out of this has come a clear call for more from their school nursing service as they better understand and further recognise you as the system leader they need and, right now, who is invaluable to the health, wellbeing and safety of their school population. The issues are, as ever, resources and funding and, with continued cuts to services, this feels beyond a tall order.
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