Wendy Nicholson, the Professional Officer for Nursing at the Department of Health (DH) encouraged school nurses attending the SAPHNA event to lead from the front because: “you are one of the most skilled workforces in public health”.

She also urged the hall to “Work smarter, to think what can be delivered locally” and “use evidence to show [commissioners] the impact you can make”.

This advice reiterated Viv Bennett’s [Director, Nursing at PHE and DH] earlier address, via a pre-recorded video link, to “make every contact count”, in order to “produce the information that commissioners need.“

Both recommended school nurses harness technology and social media as a useful and innovative way to engage with children and young people.

Nicholson also articulated the next steps in the school nurse development programme. She pointed to new pathways being developed in areas of child sexual exploitation, healthy weight management, multi-vulnerabilities and looked after children.

She also described the running of a pilot project offering school nurses leadership training to help them develop business acumen and “turn challenges into real opportunities” – a skill she deemed highly relevant in the “new world”.