The role of the school nurse in promoting health

  • Stephen Farrow


When services become invisible they run the risk of being reduced or even abandoned. During the 1980s, the school health service was such a service (Harrison and Gretton, 1986) and in many parts of the country it suffered significant cuts. These changes came about partly because people believed that the improved socioeconomic circumstances of children and families, when compared with their counterparts in the early decades of this century, did not require a service whose origins lay in poverty. They also resulted from a lack of clarity of the role of the school nurse and concern for the cost effectiveness of the school health service. The original role of the school nurse was, after all, to focus on the detection and treatment of poor hygiene, infestations and malnutrition and to provide a supporting role to school medical officers. The 1944 Education Act had extended the work of the school nurse to the secondary school; the 1981 Education Act had integrated children with learning difficulties into ordinary schools; and the national curriculum (1989) introduced the requirement to provide for health education and health promotion. In general, the post-war period had seen increased opportunities and increased activity particularly in the field of immunisation and health promotion.


Health Promotion Eating Disorder School Health School Nurse Health Visitor 
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© Stephen Farrow 1996

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  • Stephen Farrow

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