Young people want to be able to directly text, call or email their school nurse for healthcare advice, according to a report for the government.
The Our School Nurse report, published last week by the British Youth Council, will influence the government’s future strategy for school nursing, which is currently under development.
The charity’s findings – based on an online survey of 1,599 young people and focus groups with 202 of them – identified a need to improve the visibility and accessibility of school nurses.
Nearly half of the survey respondents, aged 11 to 18, were unsure about who their school nurse was. Meanwhile, 69% said they did not have information on how to access their nurse for help, and 73% had not visited them for anything except immunisations.
The report said: “All school nursing teams should consider what technology they can use to assist young people to access their service more readily. For example they could offer a text or email service to allow young people to contact them confidentially.
“As a minimum all young people should have a telephone number that they can call to tell the school nurse about their problem.”
The survey also identified the areas in which young people most wanted advice. These were drugs, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, smoking cessation and accessing other services such as counselling.
The majority of young people who had visited their school nurse reported a good experience, with 84% describing them as “approachable and friendly”.
Chief nursing officer for England Dame Christine Beasley said the findings would “prove incredibly useful” in helping to “shape the vision and model for the school nursing service”.