School Nurse Wendy Nelson works as part of a child health team based in South Liverpool that covers one senior school, four primary schools and one enhanced school. In the UK, enhanced schools provide expertise and support for special educational needs.
How did you first get into the job?
I actually started my working life in children’s nursing on the wards after first qualifying in nursing. I always liked the idea of working in the community, which is why I eventually made the move to become a child health practitioner. It was a really good role to go into, as it gave me a broad feel for lots of different aspects of community healthcare and helped me to identify where I really wanted to specialise – which was school nursing.
What exactly does the role involve?
Some of the main things are providing health promotion activities in schools, and offering regular weekly drop-in sessions or one-to-one appointments for students or parents to come and talk to us about any concerns they might have. We also provide childhood immunisations, height and weight measurement, hearing and vision testing, and a child health check, which enables us to assess every child’s health needs when they first start school.
Can you describe a typical day?
I wouldn’t say that there is a typical day as such. Every day can be quite different when you’re working with children and young people. But that’s also what makes the role so interesting.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I just really enjoy working with children and young people. It’s great because as a School Nurse you get to do lots of health promotion work and direct engagement with young people, whereas in previous health roles I was more involved in supporting the parents. Call me crazy, but I just love working with stroppy teenagers!
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
Because each School Nurse is providing support to a number of schools at any one time, sometimes it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the week. But recently School Nurses have started working on mobile devices, which means that we can do more of our paperwork on site in the schools and spend less time back in the office.
Would you recommend a career in school nursing to others?
Yes definitely! I absolutely love my job as a School Nurse, and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in working with children and young people within a health or caring profession.
How does life as an Australian School Nurse compare? Would you like to share a day in your life as a School Nurse?
How do you go about helping improve the health and wellbeing of students? What’s your biggest challenge? What support do you need to do a better job as a School Nurse?
We’re creating a new feature that recognises and celebrates the good work of School Nurses around Australia. Each month we’d like to interview a dedicated School Nurse.
Ideally the questions and answers will reveal some unexpected insights that will encourage greater communication and benefit other School Nurses.
If you’re interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a quick and easy phone interview.