• 02 April 2021
  • 9 min read

What Is It Really Like To Be A School Nurse?

  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Kamaljit Kaur
  • 2
  • 937
Play video: "You'd be fascinated how much you can actually learn from these children, these young people"

In this superb video, School Nurse, Angie, dispels the myths around the School Nursing role and explains the challenging and beautiful reality of working with children and young adults.

Topics Covered In This Video

School Nursing Isn’t The Cosy Job People Think It Is

Child Protection And Safeguarding

What Is School Nursing?

What Do School Nurses Do?

School Nurses Work With Vulnerable Children

Working As Part Of A Multidisciplinary Team

What Is The Role Of Safeguarding

Why It’s Fun Working With Children And Young Adults

School Nursing Isn’t The Cosy Job People Think It Is

Hello, my name is Angie and I am a children's safeguarding nurse for a School Nursing service.

I kind of wanted to do this video just to dispel some of the myths around the role of the School Nurse in School Nursing services, but also dispel some of the sort of fears and worries around the safeguarding element, child protection side of things as well.

I think there's a misconception in regards to School Nurses or School Nursing and what it is that we actually do.

People think that the role is easy.

It's the kind of role that people go into when they're retiring, because it's laid back.

There's not a lot to do, or we just all sit in a school medical room with a nit comb, waiting to dish out nits from children's hair.

I can categorically say that does not happen anymore.

And School Nursing has progressed massively over the decades.

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Child Protection And Safeguarding

I guess for the safeguarding element side of things, I think when people hear the word child protection or safeguarding, it kind of brings a sense of nervousness, a little bit of fear as to what it actually entails, that it puts people off from wanting to work in safeguarding.

People don't like the thought of having such vulnerable people to work with on their caseload.

And I completely get that, I really do.

But you know, there is so much support in child protection and safeguarding, that you wouldn't have to worry.

So I hope by the end of this video, you know, it does change at least one person's mind to even look into it hopefully.

What Is School Nursing?

So School Nursing's essentially a bridge between sort of health, local authority and education.

And we work with children and young people from the age of five. So reception class all the way up until they're 19.

We provide targeted and universal services across schools, could be youth clubs, it could be sixth forms.

We also try and work with children and young people who aren't attending mainstream school.

So these are children that are educated at home for whatever reason that might be, some School Nursing services will have some sort of agreement in place with local authority to try and catch on some of those children that are educated at home.

What Do School Nurses Do?

So what the School Nurses do?

Well we deliver health programs and to improve health outcomes in so many areas, these areas can be things like obesity, trying to tackle teenage pregnancy, sexual health we do a lot of and even mental health right now is a massive thing.

I guess that's a topic that we are heavily involved in at the moment with our children and young people, with everything that's happening around us in regards to COVID.

It's no surprise that children's mental health has increased massively.

So as School Nurses, this is the kind of thing that we get involved in as well. And I guess if you like the teaching side of things as well, if you like going into schools and classrooms and doing workshops, if you think you're quite handy on PowerPoint and designing presentations, School Nursing is a role for you as well 'cause these are all the things that we do.

We go into schools and deliver health promotion programs and all of these various topics.

And it's about being creative.

You know, as long as you're delivering what the message is, you can be as creative as you want and it could be on a class by class basis or there might be certain individuals that you feel a one-to-one input will be more necessary.

School Nurses Work With Vulnerable Children

I guess, if you're bringing in the safeguarding element of things, yes, we do work with vulnerable children.

And these are young people or children that are known to children's social services for a range of safeguarding reasons unfortunately, that will cover one of the four categories of child abuse and that's emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect.

We also deal with young people who are at risk of CSE, which is child sexual expectations.

We work with young people who are involved in gangs or may be at risk of joining gangs.

We work with young people who are, you know, involved or at risk of youth violence as well.

So, you know, it's very interesting.

If you've got an interest in these kind of topics, then definitely think about safeguarding.

You know, these are children on our caseload that we work very closely with to try and prevent further harm.

So the children will either be on a what's called a child protection plan or a child in need plan.

And this decision is made by a group of professionals.

Working As Part Of A Multidisciplinary Team

We work together as a multidisciplinary team of a professional network, in what's called for example, like a child protection case conference.

So there'll be, for example, the Social Worker will be there, who is like the main person of the case.

There'll be health, so me or somebody from health will be there.

There will be education there, so there'll be a representative from that child's school or college or sixth form.

There'll be a health visitor in there.

If there's a young person or a younger person, sibling involved in their family who is under the age of five, then there'll be a health visitor involved.

And depending on the nature of the case, there's often police officers involved in this network meeting as well.

Most importantly, the family are also in front of all of us, we're all working together and they are involved just as much as the professionals in these sort of conferences, we call them.

And it's kind of like, we listen to each other individually, on what the concerns are, what bought this family's attention to us as professionals.

Why are we worried?

What are we trying to prevent from further from happening?

What Is The Role Of Safeguarding

But we don't just focus on just sort of like the negative worries.

We also look at well, what's working well for this family?

What are you doing naturally to put in place, to try and now protect your child? So we do look at positive aspects as well and we really wanna sort of work together to try and get his family not known to social care.

You know, so that's essentially what like a child protection is.

And we'll come to a decision wherever we feel like, you know, this family is too at risk and we need to put them on a child protection plan so they can have some intense intervention and support or a child in need plan where there are risks.

But, you know, we don't need as many professionals involved.

They might need some targeted services such as a family Support Worker, who will go into the family home, maybe if I'm struggling to put boundaries in place. And that's the reason, so, you know, there are certain things like that.

So it depends on what element, which way the case goes.

So that's kind of one of the things that I do a lot of as well.

So safeguarding is very interesting.

It can be very intense, not gonna lie, but ultimately, you have your own caseload of children, young people to follow up and you'll be interested.

Why It’s Fun Working With Children And Young Adults

You'd be fascinated like how much you can actually learn from these children, young people, like you were going to school or sixth form and these young people would teach you so much about the latest slangs that are out there.

The latest code words, the latest thing with social media.

Like they really do make me smile.

And like, you will look at them sometimes and think, wow, you would never know that you've got a Social Worker involved, you know.

But then you do have the other side where there are children and young people that have been deeply affected about what's happened to them, they're traumatized.

And that's where you have to bring in your sort of empathy, your understanding, your listening skills.

You have to be that person because you have to think about it, over time, they're gonna build a relationship with you.

So they have to trust you and they've been able to open up.

And we essentially look after all their health needs, you know, thing we've neglected or abused children is that a lot of their health needs have been neglected.

So they won't have had their immunizations.

They won't have been taken to important hospital appointments for example.

So it's down to us as health to sort of step in and manage that as well but also empower them to also manage their own health if they're old enough.

For me personally, I love safeguarding, it's my bread and butter.

And I really do hope that, you know, after hearing this video, some of the various stuff we do, not just from a School Nurse element but from a safeguarding element has sort of enticed and changed some of your minds. And it's not as scary as you think it's gonna be.

There is so much support and it's just some enjoyable to see that you're actually helping and working with these young people to eventually see them come out on the other side to safety, where they're at a point where they're not at risk.

I do hope you enjoyed it and thank you.

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Do you have any questions about School Nursing?

Ask Angie your questions below

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About the author

  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse

I'm a Paediatric Nurse with 13 year's experience in a range of settings from Ward life, A&E, Sexual Health, School Health and Safeguarding Children. Currently my role is in the community as a Children's Safeguarding Nurse within a School Nursing Service working with vulnerable Children and Young people aged 5-19 years.

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  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse

About the author

  • Angie Jay
    Paediatric Nurse

I'm a Paediatric Nurse with 13 year's experience in a range of settings from Ward life, A&E, Sexual Health, School Health and Safeguarding Children. Currently my role is in the community as a Children's Safeguarding Nurse within a School Nursing Service working with vulnerable Children and Young people aged 5-19 years.

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    • Kamaljit Kaur one month ago
      Kamaljit Kaur
    • Kamaljit Kaur
      one month ago

      Hi Angie, thank you for explaining it so well. Could you please advise how I could start a career as ... read more

    • Rosanna Schofield 3 months ago
      Rosanna Schofield
    • Rosanna Schofield
      3 months ago

      I added a student school nurse job to my favourites on NHS jobs the other day and this has given ... read more

      • Hi Rosanna, I'm so glad you found my video useful. That was exactly my aim, to inspire other Nurses into thinking about the role. Good luck with your application into school nursing.

        Replied by: Angie Jay