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We owe it to ourselves to refill the empty cup

02 June 2022
Volume 3 · Issue 3


School nurses and the wider health care workforce are notoriously bad at practising self-care, yet this is essential. Sharon White explains

‘You can't pour from an empty cup’ is a saying I was well accustomed to hearing as a child. A daughter of avid carers who devoted their lives to foster children and, indeed, anyone in need of a helping hand. However, they were very poor at doing this and, as a result, something I model. And something which the school nursing and wider nursing workforce isn't very good at either.

We, at SAPHNA (, recently hosted a webinar providing a safe psychological space for our workforce to come together and discuss the relentless challenges and expectations brought to bear due to the exponential rise and multi-layered complexities in the safeguarding of children, young people, and their families. The resulting word cloud provides an accurate overview.

We had no magic solutions, rather, an acknowledgement and recognition of the exhaustion and helplessness being experienced; an openness to vent, share and learn and, the hope inspired by the unstinting and uplifting encouragement provided by Kenny Gibson, Deputy Director for NHS Safeguarding.

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