The School Nurse Rucksack

Leader(s)Jacqueline Jones
LocationHywel Dda University Health Board
DurationNovember 2014 – June 2016
Received for PublicationFebruary 2017

A Framework for a School Nursing Service for Wales (2009) sets out the Welsh Government’s approach to developing a school nursing service for children and young people that is visible, safe and accessible to a high standard. The World Health Organisation’s 4 year study on health behaviours of school aged children worldwide identified consistent health compromising behaviours in 13 to 15 years olds (World Health Organisation, 2010). The School Nursing Team in Hywel Dda University Health Board is managed through the three constituent Counties – Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Carmarthenshire is approximately 2,400 km2 in size making it the 3rd largest county in Wales. From information obtained from the project team’s Health Board Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service the number of referrals to their service is higher in this age group than any other.

The project leader, as part of a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse degree, developed the idea of a school rucksack as a teaching aid which would incorporate items to enable the school nurse to ask young people “What is in your rucksack that is bothering you?” The aim of this project was to build on this initial work and to raise the profile of the school nurse by engaging the participation of key stakeholders including pupils.

The project team used a mixed methods approach. These included meeting key stakeholders in schools, staff development sessions, presentation at a local university, promoting the project in the  Domestic Abuse Forum, pupil questionnaires and focus groups, using posters as visual aids and writing a press release for the trust newsletter. Observational techniques were used and recorded during the focus group sessions with pupils.

The project has seen the introduction of a referral process between school staff and the school nurse which will be audited at the end of the school year in order to plan resources and improve time management. The school nurse poster is a visual aid to inform pupils and visitors who their school nurse is, what they look like, when they are in school and how to contact them.

The pupil questionnaires provided an insight into how pupils wish to contact their school nurse and the issues they would like to discuss further. The project has given the larger school nursing team the “School Nurse Rucksack” to pilot as a visual aid, as a vehicle to help pupils in identifying the school nurse and facilitating a discussion on health promotion subjects.

This project was supported by the Foundation of Nursing Studies Patients First Programme in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing. For more information contact: [email protected]

FoNS would like to congratulate Jacqueline Jones, who is leader for The School Nurse Rucksack’ project, on winning RCN Wales Community Nurse of the Year award. Read more…

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