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Meet the team: #digitalschoolnurse

Also:

  • Anita Lamb, School Nurse, Clinical Lead 0-19 team
  • Lena Abdu, Improvement and transformation lead
  • Jenny Rawlinson, Marketing and Communication Lead

Background

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.

 

Local context

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).  

The proposal

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.

Project summary

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

Project Funding

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

Comments

  1. Guest

    Laura Saunders 3 years, 1 month ago

     
    Hi Athina,
    Thank you for your comments. It’s certainly made us think through the content of our bid and will look to ensure these points are embedded. Surrey experiences low public health funding and as a result has a stretched school nursing service, however, we feel that there is an opportunity to maximise the role of school nurses through the wider dissemination of public health messaging. We have included our school nursing lead in the development of this bid and recognise the growing evidence that peer mentoring is an effective method of increasing capacity within services.
    Public Health England have recently highlighted the importance of involving young people in the development and promotion of public health messages, we recognise this and will use this project as a way of developing an on-going feedback loop to guide and steer messaging. See https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2014/05/08/nothing-about-us-without-us-why-listening-to-children-and-young-people-makes-for-good-public-health/
    Evidence suggests that although social media can be a useful publicity tool a range of promotion techniques are required, we will look to engage educational staff (teachers) to promote the online peer mentoring. Parents will be engaged as part of the exploratory stage, this may raise opportunities for peer support for parents.
    There is also a growing body of evidence which suggests that adults can reduce risk and increase the positive impact of social media through focussing on content and working with the users, in this case young people, to understand the ways individuals interact with social media and its functional capabilities. We have to recognise that digital platforms are increasingly used and part of daily life, this project will add to the evidence base around developing positive messaging and effective use of these existing platforms in order to counteract and reduce the negative impacts of social media.
    With regards to your final point the aforementioned PHE blog states ‘Learning good habits and building emotional resilience in the school years is vital for life chances and school nurses are a key part of the public health workforce giving support to make this happen’. However, we understand that school nurses are not the only available workforce and are therefore hoping to explore the opportunity to work with the Healthy School Programme and Targeted Mental Health in Schools Programme.
    Thank you for your comments. Surrey experiences low public health funding and as a result has a stretched school nursing service, however, we feel that there is an opportunity to maximise the role of school nurses through the wider dissemination of public health messaging. We have included our school nursing lead in the development of this bid and recognise the growing evidence that peer mentoring is an effective method of increasing capacity within services.
    Public Health England have recently highlighted the importance of involving young people in the development and promotion of public health messages, we recognise this and will use this project as a way of developing an on-going feedback loop to guide and steer messaging. See https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2014/05/08/nothing-about-us-without-us-why-listening-to-children-and-young-people-makes-for-good-public-health/
    Evidence suggests that although social media can be a useful publicity tool a range of promotion techniques are required, we will look to engage educational staff (teachers) to promote the online peer mentoring. Parents will be engaged as part of the exploratory stage, this may raise opportunities for peer support for parents.
    There is also a growing body of evidence which suggests that adults can reduce risk and increase the positive impact of social media through focussing on content and working with the users, in this case young people, to understand the ways individuals interact with social media and its functional capabilities. We have to recognise that digital platforms are increasingly used and part of daily life, this project will add to the evidence base around developing positive messaging and effective use of these existing platforms in order to counteract and reduce the negative impacts of social media.
    With regards to your final point the aforementioned PHE blog states ‘Learning good habits and building emotional resilience in the school years is vital for life chances and school nurses are a key part of the public health workforce giving support to make this happen’. However, we understand that school nurses are not the only available workforce and are therefore hoping to explore the opportunity to work with the Healthy School Programme and Targeted Mental Health in Schools Programme.
     

     

     

  2. Guest

    Athina Doyle 3 years, 1 month ago

    Hi team,

    This sounds like a great idea. I wondered:
    1. How have young people asked school nurses to engage i.e. have young people requested more interaction from school nurses via social media or is this concept from professionals?
    2. Will teachers be included?
    3. Will parents be included?
    4. How will school nurses deliver this programme when they are already stretched, have they been consulted?
    5. Social media has been found to have a negative impact on mental health and wellbeing, is this an appropriate platform?
    6. Are school nurses best placed to deliver these messages?

    Thanks, Athina

  3. Guest

    Hi Tom, Anita Lamb, one of the project team is a school nurse, which is something we haven't highlighted so I shall amend. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  4. Denise, This looks like a valuable project. Have you considered having a school nurse or form teacher on your project team? Regards Tom

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