Meet the team: #digitalschoolnurse
Director of Nursing and Quality, Chief Nurse, Director of Infection Control and Prevention and CQC Nominated Individual
- England - Kent Surrey Sussex
- Anita Lamb, School Nurse, Clinical Lead 0-19 team
- Lena Abdu, Improvement and transformation lead
- Jenny Rawlinson, Marketing and Communication Lead
The physical and mental health of teenagers is a major health issue. While there are some positive health indicators – teenage pregnancy rates in Surrey have fallen – there are some worrying health trends particularly around managing stress and mental wellbeing. School nurses are ideally placed to meet the many of the health needs of teenagers, through advice, support and referral to specialist services. And while the majority of teenagers who use school nursing services have a positive experience, too few of them use their school nurse. We also know that health services for young people work best when they are shaped by young people themselves.
School nurses in Surrey are already using the Chat Health texting service to connect with secondary school pupils, and this is showing some positive results. However, anecdotal evidence suggests there are additional opportunities using digital and social media to better connect teenagers with school nurses, which would enable earlier identification and treatment of health issues.
Surrey is generally perceived as a wealthy county. However, the overall rate of child poverty is 10% across the county and inequalities exist, which significantly affect the life chances of young people. In Surrey, public health priorities include smoking, suicide prevention (including self-harm) and healthy weight. National figures show that 50% of people who have died by suicide have a history of self-harm. Due to the nature of self-harm and under-reporting, it can be hard to estimate how many children and young people are using self-harm as a coping mechanism. But we do know that hospital admissions due to self-harm in Surrey increased 2015-16 amongst 10-24 year olds (448.1 per 100,000) and are above the national average 430.5 per 100,000).
Social media is not intended to replace the school nursing services but to enhance it. The intention is to explore how social media can be used to raise awareness and create connections between teenagers and school nurses. (In a similar way to on-line dating services create the connections and enable relationships to start).
We also want to explore how school nurses can use social media to reach large cohorts of young people, offer timely information on topical issues such as exam pressures, self-image, bullying, and substance misuse, and which are the most appropriate platforms.
A key element of the project will be to design the solution with young people. Specifically we would explore their use of social media, the platforms they use and the role of their peers, parents/carers, teachers and other influencers.
To improve the physical and mental well-being of young people in Surrey by using digital and social media to connect school nurses and teenagers.
How it will be done
The project will be split into three phases:
Phase 1- Desk Research
Conduct a detailed search of ‘best practice’ in other fields which are successfully using creative ways to communicate and connect with young people. This would look beyond health, into other public and private sector with a proven track record of visiting working with young people and doing this well.
Using the information from the search, create a long list of menu of possible engagement activities including working with school councils, and hosting interactive events, that make sure young people have a voice that can help us to find the most effective ways to communicate and connect school nurses and young people. Surveys by the British Youth Council have indicated that young people would like to work with professionals to improve the connection between school health services and young people and build on the positive experience that those who have engaged with the service have had.
Phase 2- Exploration with young people
From the engagement activities in each of the four quadrants in Surrey we will identify young people who are interested in forming a champions group. This group will be facilitated to:
· – explore the opportunities for school nurses to use social media as a tool to connect with young people
· – co create a social media space –this is likely to include platforms such as twitter, instagram and snapchat to highlight public health messages and local information.
Phase 3- Co-Design
Using a range of engagement techniques to work with young people to design digital and social media plans.
Phase 4- Education and Implementation
Once the design has been agreed with young people, school nurses will be offered bespoke training on the social media tools, and content. We will test and refine our plans.
Phase 5 Evaluation
We will evaluate the impact of the changes
At this stage we have identified that the funding would be used for:
· – project management resource to run the project
· – Specialist independent facilitator
· – Digital marketing expertise
· – Training of school nurses
How you can contribute
- Advice from people who have successfully engaged with young people
- Social media expertise