Jo Levoir works as a school health advisor in Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust in United Kingdom. The Trust employs 3,200 staff and is one of the largest employers in the county. Staff include health visitors, nurses (general and specialist), doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, psychologists, ophthalmologists, audiologists, podiatrists and dieticians and a range of other health care professionals.
Why school nursing?
School nursing has evolved in the last ten years from mainly health promotion and routine health assessment to greater involvement with children and young people with complex needs and more public health involvement.
What’s your average day like?
I’m based in a health centre but spend most of my day out and about visiting children at school or at home. I tend to see children on a one-to-one basis, but also works with parents, family members and teachers. I also work closely with social workers, teachers, child protection nurses and practice nurses to information share and work out care and support plans to support children and young people.
How many schools do you cover?
I cover 14 schools with children from 5 to 19 years old, so there is a lot to do. In addition to screening and immunisation programs and the child protection role, I’m involved in supporting the PSHE program in schools. I undertake a number of assessments with children and young people including screening for ADHD. I work closely with child and adolescent mental health services and child development clinics. No two days are the same, but I love it all.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
You need to get your grounding in hospital nursing first to consolidate your learning and then look out for any community health positions. It’s not an easy option. It’s not task-orientated so you may need to drop everything and rearrange your day, depending on what’s happening. You need to really want to do it and be able to cope with being a lone worker most of the time – although there is great support from within the team. We’re all great friends.
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.