A considerable, sustained investment in school nursing is needed, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said.

In a UK-wide position paper published today (Wednesday 15 February), the RCN has said more needs to be done to highlight the difference school nurses can make to the lives of children and young people.

The position paper looks at the work school nurses carry out, as well as looking at areas of good practice. It also issues a warning against the 'poaching' of school nurses by the government, so that it can reach its target to recruit an extra 4,200 health visitors in England by 2015. 

It also voices concerns over cuts to the school nursing workforce, and emphasises that a number of key objectives should be met, including:

  • Recognising the importance of the nursing voice. All reforms to community nursing and nursing services must engage school nurses
  • Supporting a child and young person centred approach and ensuring that high quality services are provided throughout an individual's care pathway
  • Creating a positive career choice for school nurses
  • Strong, visible and influential school nursing leadership is needed to plan and manage change and to help secure a robust future for school nursing services.

RCN chief executive and general secretary, Dr Peter Carter, said: "School nurses can play a pivotal role in breaking intergenerational cycles, facilitating behaviour change and promoting healthy lifestyles.  They help to tackle obesity, encourage children to stop smoking, reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. This position statement provides the framework for the future of the profession and we would like to see it acted upon as a matter of urgency."

To read the full position statement, click here.

Posted by Robert Mair on 15/2/2012