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  • In-school health programs led by RNs show success in reaching students

    Author: HealthTimes

Integrating a registered nurse into Australian schools to help students make informed choices about health-related behaviors was successful in a recent pilot program, according to a recent study published in BioMed Central.

Led by Michelle Banfield with the Australian National University, the study followed the School Youth Health Nurse (SYHN) Program and looked at several factors: “1) whether the Program was accessible to the high school students; 2) the impacts of the Program on key stakeholders; 3) which factors affected adoption of the Program; 4) whether implementation was consistent with the Program intent; and 5) the long-term sustainability of the Program. Research included retrospective analysis of Program records, administration of a survey of student experiences and interviews with 38 stakeholders”

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The SYHN was instituted in 2009 by the ACT Government and put in place in eight high school pilot programs.

The program consisted of a registered nurse who had experience in youth health and habits, a clinical nurse consultant who provided clinical supervision, and a program manager.

“The nurses work with teachers to assist in the delivery of the health curriculum in class and whole of school forums,” Banfield and team wrote. “The nurses also co-ordinate smaller sessions tailored to student population needs such as smoking cessation and healthy eating groups. The balance of their time is spent in individual consultations with students.”

For the studies, staff interviews were conducted at the eight schools.

Data were analysed at the Program level in order to protect the identity of the schools, nurses and students. Primary analyses consisted of descriptive statistics, including percentages and total scale scores.

“This evaluation found that the SYHN Program is delivering accessible and acceptable primary health care, focused on health promotion, and delivered both individually and through group education. The Program implementation is consistent with the SYHN aims based on the Health Promoting Schools framework,” the authors concluded.

Despite being limited by lack of heath outcome measures built into the program, the study showed that the SYHN is connecting youth with trusted sources of health information.

“Some work remains to be done on points of occasional tension such as confidentiality and scope of practice, but overall the SYHN model offers considerable opportunity for primary health care provision for adolescents in the school setting,” Banfield and team wrote.


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