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Saturday 22 October 2016 Instagram
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Teens reluctant to turn to school nurses with health worries

Teens reluctant to turn to school nurses with health worries


More than four out of every five teenagers would choose not talk to their school nurse if they were worried about their health, a survey claims.

Research by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) found parents and carers were the top choice for teens to turn to with health worries (75%) followed by their friends (51%).

GPs came in third (48%) among the almost 300 11 to 19 year-old young people surveyed.

Only 17% (less than one in five) of teens said they would talk to a school nurse if concerned by their health.

“The results of this survey imply that young people will value and use sources of advice and support they can trust,” said Barbara Hearn OBE, Deputy Chief Executive of the NCB.

“With health reforms currently under the spotlight, we now have a moment in time to create a health system that can deliver.”

Over half of the young people polled said they felt they need more information about reducing stress (56%), healthy eating (32%), and the effects of illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco on their body (27%).

When asked where they get the majority of their health information, 62% said parents.

Other sources included schools/teachers (55%), the internet (47%), and friends (24%).

The survey results coincide with a new government initiative which could see school nurses receiving texts from pupils to schedule appointments.

It is believed too many school pupils “find it hard” to see school nurses because they do not know how to make appointments or are “too embarrassed” to ask for an appointment though a teacher.

Question: Why do you think school nurses ranked so low in the survey?


I think this article serves to highlight that probably very few teenagers actually know who their school nurse is. Anecdotally, I know of teens within my family and circle of friends who think their school nurse is the designated first- aider at school. It's fantastic that the Government appear to be "seeing" school nurses, but without the resources being available (ie, more school nurses) it remains very difficult for school nurses to raise their profiles locally and get into schools enough to be seen and known by the students.

Where school nurses are accessible, teenagers always value the service. However, there are so few schools now which have a school nurse, that it is very likely that many teenagers could not find one. Successive governments have failed to match rhetoric with reality; there is constant hand wringing about the health of children and teenagers around obesity, pregnacy, sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, alcohol and mental health issues etc. but no requirement for anyone to take the operational lead on these topics.
CPHVA calls for every secondary school to have a school nurse to lead the Healthy Child programme in a 'team around the child' approach.

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