School Health Services are delivered in all public and private primary schools across Western Australia. The Community Health Nurses are employed by WA Country Health Services.
Community Health Nurses working in primary schools provide services to children, especially to young children and their families. They collaborate extensively with teaching and other school staff.
Community Health Nurses are primarily involved in early detection and health education. They build capacity within the schools to care for children with particular health needs, (i.e. anaphylaxis, asthma), and often assist classroom teachers with delivery of the health education curriculum, especially in the area of puberty, growth and development. A School Level Agreement is negotiated between the School Health Nurse and the Principal to guide service delivery at individual schools.
Community Health Nurses work in schools to promote healthy development and well-being so students may reach their full potential. A major part of their work is focused on early intervention and the School Entry Health Assessment program. Community Health Nurses serve as a health contact point for children, and their families, providing information, assessment, health counselling and referral.
They may provide;
- Information, advocacy and support for children and their parents to make informed decisions about health, well-being and development.
- Health and development assessments.
- Referral to other health services for further assessment, tests, diagnosis, treatment or therapy.
- Parenting advice and parenting programs (i.e. Triple P).
- Support for teachers to provide health education in the classroom.
- Student health and well-being programs, e.g. protective behaviours.
- Support for school health promotion initiatives.
- Facilitation of professional development for teachers, e.g. asthma or anaphylaxis.
- Help to school staff and parents to develop health care plans for students with special needs (eg chronic disease; physical disability or other complex health conditions).
As a general rule Community Health Nurses;
- Do not provide minor first aid. (The school is responsible for this).
- Do not administer medication.
- Do not conduct invasive physical examinations.
- Do not conduct checks for head lice.
- Do not undertake long term counselling about psychological, relationship or educational problems