Nurses in Schools program
The Nurses in Schools program recruited a Tracey Palmer as the the new Nurse Team Lead in December 2019. Updates regarding this program will be made available once the 2020 school year begins at the end of January.
The Nurses in Schools program commenced in 2017 as a result of a local school Principal experiencing a high number of children with absences due to head lice. He approached the Department of Health and Human Services and requested support. Latrobe Community Health Service was requested to help the school out. From here a nurse in school was identified as being of value. This was not only to look at the identification and treatment of head lice at that time, but address health disparities in the school community within Latrobe Valley.
When the program initially started in 2017, one community nurse was employed in one school. This has expanded to nursing coverage in the eight public primary schools within the Latrobe valley. This gives the team as a whole approximately 2,000 students. The schools are
identified with Department of Education and Training as having a high Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) index score, and therefore, requiring additional support, especially in terms of the health and wellbeing of the children that attend the schools. Health needs are being identified and children are able to access appropriate health care in a timely manner.
The immediate future of the Nurses in Schools program will involve implementing the governance structure around the program, determining the range of services the nurses can provide and ensuring competencies to provide these. The team are currently Identifying
consistent key deliverables and a suite of services and measurable outcomes for all schools whilst still being responsive to the individual school’s community needs.
The Nurses in Schools program within the Latrobe Valley is currently seen as a wide scale pilot program with the expectation that the program can be implemented in more schools across the state. This program will require ongoing funding to both sustain current service
levels and if deemed appropriate to expand beyond the Latrobe Valley.
Statistics for the program are being collected for evaluation purposes. The statistics look at how many kids a nurse sees on a monthly basis within that particular school and a brief description of the intervention that has taken place.