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Wales set to meet school nurse target

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A Welsh Assembly commitment to ensure that every secondary school in Wales has a school nurse is expected to be achieved at the end of April, the health minister Edwina Hart has announced today.

The assembly had committed to a school nurse for each of Wales’s 223 secondary schools, and the final three remaining posts are expected to be filled during April 2011.

Ms Hart said: “Delivering on our commitment to provide a school nurse for every secondary school in Wales will lead to greater consistency of the service across Wales, improving the health of children and young people.

School nurses have a mix of skills and expertise, covering public health, health surveillance, health promotion, health protection, safeguarding, and supporting children and young people with medical, special and complex health needs.

She added: “It is widely accepted that schools that promote the health and well-being of children and young people are more likely to create an effective learning environment, and school nurses will contribute towards that.” 

Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, welcomed the announcement.

She said: “School health nursing is a policy priority for the RCN because of its contribution to the public health agenda. School nurses promote healthy living as well as addressing health needs such as injury assessments, mental and emotional well-being, sexual health and smoking cessation, nutritional needs and dental health.

“The school health nurse works in partnership with educators, parents and carers to promote a healthy environment for groups of pupils and looking after the needs of individual young people.

“The RCN is pleased that school health nurses will respond to the needs of a school-aged population over the full calendar year rather than being employed only during school term times.”

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