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Table 1 Previous and current roles of the school nurse

From: Supporting the health and well-being of school-aged children through a school nurse programme: a realist evaluation

Previous role Current role
Responsible for immunisation of all school age children Immunisation progressively delegated to specialist teams
Support for whole school curriculum Individual interventions based on pupil need
Support for school children with chronic physical health conditions Chronic physical health conditions delegated to Community Children’s Nurses
Children ‘referred’ to service via ad hoc requests e.g. being stopped in corridor by teachers Children referred formally to service from a variety of sources including education staff, GPs, social workers etc
School nurse role ill-defined but incorporates children with almost any need School nurses prioritise children who are referred into service on one or more of the 10 pathways.
Does not lead team Leads a school health team possibly including health care assistants and staff grade nurses
Infrequent and ad hoc home visiting Role includes family assessment and home visits
Limited holistic assessment of family and environment outside school GIRFEC and wider family assessment
Unfocused and unclear contribution to outcomes such as improved mental health Focused role with agreed definition and referral mechanisms
No nationally collected data on school nurse role Contributes to national dataset on health of school age children
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