NZ School Nurses

School Based Health Awareness Month- Febuary 2022

In February, the traditional awareness month for our field, we celebrate our successes and raise awareness about how school-based health centers (SBHCs) revolutionize the way children and adolescents access health care services. 

As we enter into the third year of the global pandemic, and consider all that it has changed in New Zealand, its imperative that we recognise the value of School Based Health Centres.

Children and Adolescents everywhere have seen a raft of changes and disruptions to their schooling. The traditional rite of passage for senior students has seen them miss out on some of the most significant and memorable experiences of their schooling; the school ball, school camps, graduation ceremonies, and school celebrations. The social isolation experienced by students who thrive upon being with and around peers as they learn has deeply impacted many tamariki and rangatahi across Aotearoa. As schools return to a new sense of normalcy in 2022, there is still a degree of uncertainty around how long schools may stay open for if and when Omicron and further strains of Covid 19 take hold. 

School based health centres play a pivotal role in taking stock of students wellbeing, their academic progress, and what supports need to be put in place to help students move from surviving to thriving. 

SBHC are ideally placed to meet the needs of students. They are located on school, making access to Health, Social and Pastoral care easily accessible. They are staffed by multi-disciplinary professionals such as School Nurses, Guidance Counsellors, Educational Psychologists, GP's, Physios, Deans, Tutors, Social Workers, Youth Workers, Family Planning Nurses, and their work is further enhanced by administrators and support staff who play a vital role within the team keeping everything running smoothly. 

School Based Health service staff are able to build friendly, supportive and empowering relationships with young people, due to their accessibility and focus on the school population as a dedicated cohort. Services are usually free or very low cost, making this additionally acceptable to whanau and caregivers in NZ, even more important as the cost of living rises sharply as the impact of the pandemic is felt on the economy. 

To celebrate and recognise School Based Health Awareness month, we will be sharing regular updates and stats about SBHC to generate awareness - there are some serious gaps that need local, and national attention so that SBHCs can continue to serve young people well. Join us by sharing your stories/vision and perspectives using any or all of the hash tags below.

#SBHC, #NZSN, #SchoolBasedHealthAlliance, #SBHCAwarenessMonth, #SBHCAM2022, #SchoolBasedHealth