School-Based Health Service provides better access

The recent expansion of the School-Based Health Service (SBHS) to decile three secondary schools is further reducing barriers that prevent students from accessing healthcare services.

Under the service, nurses who have experience working with young people, are working within decile 1-3 schools to offer personal health services that include assessment, treatment and referral options on-site. The presence of a nurse within the school makes access to healthcare much easier for students.
One of the decile three schools that has been part of the service’s expansion is Hato Paora College, on the outskirts of Feilding. Registered Nurse Dale Phillips-Tuivaga operates the service at the college, where she deals with the usual bumps and scrapes of school life, but also takes a holistic approach to the health of the students.

She said: “While we have the normal sports injuries, and illnesses that come along with life at a boarding school, there is also a lot more to the care. Being available to provide advice on a number of social and emotional issues is also an important function of the job.”
Conducting a HEADSS assessment for all year nine students is another role that the SBHS provides. This assessment encompasses the student’s home life, as well as physical, social and developmental health. A holistic assessment such as this allows nurses to gain a wider view of the students’ needs.
For Dale, health promotion is another beneficial part of her role. A recent example was the organising of a team of nurses to visit the school to provide influenza vaccinations.

“In any school environment, diseases can spread easily, and it is important that we as nurses inform the students of health. Being within the schools gives us an ability to provide these sorts of health promotion messages directly to the students.
“To me, we just need to make sure that we are doing all we can to look after the adolescents in our care.”

MDHB Portfolio Manager, Child and Youth Health Barb Bradnock is pleased with the results of the rollout of the School Based Health Services.
“The scheme has been well received by pupils and the wider school community. The expansion to include decile three schools means that we are able to further reduce the obstacles that may prevent young people in our region from accessing healthcare.”