Analysis of sexual healthcare provided by school nurses
Aim The aim of this study was to explore the role and activities of the school nursing service in sexual health within a large inner London borough. Background School nurses (SNs) are specialist community public health nurses working with the school age population to promote their health and well-being and therefore are arguably in a prime position to promote the sexual health of children and young people. This is particularly pertinent in inner city boroughs where the rates of sexually transmitted infections and under-18 conceptions are a significant problem. Methods Following a review of the literature, a mixed methods study was undertaken which included an audit of documentary data to identify the referrals received in relation to sexual health and also included questionnaire surveys of school staff and SNs on their views of the role of the SN in sexual health. Findings SNs and school staff identified that SNs have a role in sexual health, which was reflected in the referrals received during the audit of documentary data. There appeared to be inconsistencies across the service and evidence suggested that the school nursing service may be underutilised in comparison to the number of students who require sexual health support. The current service appears to be predominantly reactive, particularly for males and those less than 12 years old. However, both SNs and school staff would like to see a more preventative approach; including greater sexual health promotion, condom distribution and school health clinics.
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