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Specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN): school nursing

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 and young people from five to nineteen and are usually linked to a school or group of schools. Nurses work in skill mix teams, historically the role has been term time only however many jobs are now advertised as full time employment.

The school nurse’s day-to-day role varies greatly from area to area, and depending on the type of school. It may include undertaking health assessments: signposting children, young people and families to other sources of information: advising and supporting schools with their public health agendas: profiling schools: safeguarding role: training in relation to some conditions for example asthma, anaphylaxis and epilepsy: support in relation to continence issues: drop ins for pupils.

How to become a qualified school nurse

Any branch of nursing is able to apply to undertake the SCPHN: SN programme, currently this is studied at level 6 or 7, students would be seconded or sponsored to undertake the programme. Upon successful completion of the programme you will be entered onto the third part of the nursing and midwifery council register as a school nurse. At present the training is fully funded however there is to be a change and it is to become an apprenticeship route to qualification.

At present the course is 50% theory and 50% practice with a period of consolidated practice of 50 days. Students are supported by a practice teacher (PT) and sometimes specialist mentors, the PT is responsible for signing the student off at the end of the programme.

Once qualified there are many opportunities for SN’s to develop in practice

  • leadership roles for example team/service lead
  • looked after children’s nurse
  • safeguarding roles
  • lecturer
  • public health commissioning

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