A case study and focus-group discussions were conducted with 10 youth health nurses (nurses) employed in the recently introduced School-Based Youth Health Nurse Program U18 (SBYHNP) to identify their roles, responsibilities, and professional development needs. Major roles are support, referral, health promotion, and marketing. Clients include high school students, teachers, and parents; the majority of whom are female and aged 13–16 years. Health issues addressed during individual consultations are predominantly psychosocial but also include medical, sexual health and sexuality issues, health surveillance, and risk-taking behaviors. Nurses also provide clients with health information and promote enhanced personal skill development during these consultations. Health promotion strategies undertaken by nurses were predominantly health education and health information displays. Nurses reported marketing their role and function within the school to be an essential and often difficult aspect of their role. Professional development through the SBYHNP was excellent; however, there was concern relating to the availability of future educational opportunities. The SBYHNP provides nurses with a new, challenging, autonomous role within the school environment and the opportunity to expand their role to incorporate all aspects of the health-promoting schools’ framework.
Public Health Nursing / Vol. 21, No. 4, pp.316-322