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Shortage of school nurses

There is a desperate shortage of school nurses, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

There are only 2,500 in the UK at present.

The number of male nurses is not known, but the proportion is thought to resemble nursing generally where the figure is around 10 per cent.

The old days of screening, checking pupils' weight, or examining them for head lice, are giving way to a more strategic role promoting health.

School nurses' duties include caring for children suffering from conditions such as asthma and dabetes.

They also have responsibility for vulnerable children, including those on a child

protection register, and for mental health. They may draw up health plans for such children.

They may be involved in education on stress, sexual health and pregnancy, drugs, smoking, bullying or diet.

The role of a school nurse is not clearly defined. The Royal College of Nursing is drawing up a list of their basic responsibilities with the help of MSF, the union representing school nurses, and other bodies.

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