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New roles for school nurses: preventing exclusion

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The opportunity for school nurses to engage in public health work has never been greater. This discussion paper is the first in a series of three papers in Community Practitioner describing the experiences of two school nurses in one of the Department of Health's Health Visitor and School Nurse Innovation Projects. The project aimed to develop a service to address concern about the rising numbers of children excluded from school and about the mental health and well-being of these children and their communities.

An innovative nurse-led multi-agency model of intervention to address challenging behaviour and prevent exclusion was developed. This involved nurses working with individual children and their families, using a range of intervention methods, and liaising with other agencies to support their work. The nurses also adopted a preventative role, delivering group interventions to promote emotional literacy and coping skills. The project enabled the nurses to expand their traditional roles by tailoring services to the local context; providing a more integrated multi-agency approach; increasing the coping resources of children and their families; and providing some mental health interventions themselves. The project demonstrates that the government policy of encouraging school nurses to take on the role of child-centred public health practitioners can be translated into local practice.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Community Practitioner - the journal of the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association (Unite/CPHVA) - has a readership that includes over 20,700 healthcare professionals who work in the community, caring for over 5,000,000 clients, patients and families across the UK. These comprise health visitors, school nurses, district nurses, practice nurses, community paediatric nurses, community nursery nurses and other community-based practitioners.
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