Supporting school nurses to deliver emotional and mental health interventions: a service evaluation
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Supporting school nurses to deliver emotional and mental health interventions: a service evaluation

Keri Ratter Team lead for school nurses, NHS Scotland

Why you should read this article
  • To better understand the role of school nurses as first point of contact for emotional and mental health issues

  • To recognise that school nurses need appropriate support for managing potentially distressing situations

  • To explore school nurses’ views on the support they receive for delivering emotional and mental health interventions

School nurses often encounter children and young people with emotional and mental health needs and therefore need to be able to manage potentially distressing situations. A service evaluation explored the experiences and perceptions of a small school nursing team of the support they receive to deliver emotional and mental health interventions. Three school nurses and one child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) practitioner, all working in a remote and rural area of Scotland, took part in individual semi-structured interviews.

Peer support emerged as the most important facilitator but participants lacked time to access it. Training was identified as another crucial source of support, but again time for it was lacking. Moreover, limited access to further support services for children and young people, and a lack of recognition and understanding of participants’ role by others, made it more challenging for participants to deliver emotional and mental health interventions. School nurses could be better supported in that aspect of their role by ensuring they have time for reflection and learning; by enhancing the training, tools and resources available to them; and by improving their professional recognition within and outside the NHS.

Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2022.e1768

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Ratter K (2022) Supporting school nurses to deliver emotional and mental health interventions: a service evaluation. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2022.e1768

Published online: 24 August 2022

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