Part of the Department of Health’s School Nurse Development Programme’s (SNDP) remit is to look at the role of school nurses both within the school and their wider contribution within the community. With this in mind, the Programme includes a module called Building Community Capacity which is currently being tested by a small group of school nurses – including Bernadette Osterberg who works as a school nurse for the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust. Based in Norwich, she covers two high schools and 11 feeder schools.
What do you think about the SNDP?
“I feel very excited about the SNDP. It’s an opportunity to revitalise the school nursing profession and help develop a universal service vision.
“Traditionally, school nurses have been stretched too thinly on the ground and it is anticipated that the SNDP will make a difference to staffing levels. This would enable us to have better opportunities to reach out to the schools and their wider communities to deliver on the Healthy Child Programme.
“I recently registered on SNDP’s Building Community Capacity module. The module is in six stages and I expect to present my findings to my colleagues upon completion. I have a workplace mentor to support me throughout and I anticipate completing the module at the end of this academic year.”
What is the subject of your module?
“I have identified an expressed health need in one of the high schools in a deprived area of Norwich. The pastoral team, whom I work closely with, have identified a group of adolescent girls who have engaged in self harm, substance abuse and risk-taking behaviours. They present with very poor self-esteem and self-awareness and as a result, find it difficult to participate in the school community.
“My aim is to work with these girls to raise their self-esteem and improve their overall emotional health and wellbeing. I intend to establish links with other agencies including CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and MAP (Mancroft Advice Project, a local agency consisting of advisers, counsellors and youth workers who work together to support young people). I will facilitate the implementation of this group and co-ordinate it, with the aim of the school being able to sustain it in the future.
“In the next few months my work will include arranging a focus group, developing a pre- and post-evaluation form, developing resources and working in collaboration with the school community and other agencies.”
What do you hope to get from completing the module?
“Participation in the BCC module will enable me to work closely with other agencies to help improve the health and wellbeing outcomes in a vulnerable group of young adults. Supporting them in raising their self-esteem and having positive mental health will help reduce inequalities and facilitate a positive contribution for them in the school and its wider community.”