Career choice is one of the most important decisions in anyone’s life; we know career choices amongst young people can be influenced by so many factors including life experiences, family and peers. Within nursing we know that we need the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place and this is reflected our vision, Compassion in Practice. It is important for those considering nursing as a career to understand the core values and behaviours that underpin the profession. We want to encourage more young people to consider public health nursing as a career option. Therefore, we need to ensure future generations understand the range of nursing roles, want to embrace the values and understand the opportunities public health nursing can offer.
As part of the School Nurse Development programme, we worked with key partners the British Youth Council and North West Regional Youth Work Unit, to gain invaluable insight from young people; we wanted to learn about their thoughts and experiences of school nursing services. Interestingly, during this process we also discovered that young people knew very little, if anything, about school nursing as a career option and, sadly, very few had considered school nursing or indeed nursing as a career. Those that were contemplating nursing saw their future in ITU, A&E and theatre; the possibility of public health nursing wasn’t on their radar.
Over the last few months we have worked with NHS careers, school nurses and young people to develop a short film to raise awareness amongst 16-24 year olds about the role and opportunities school nursing can offer. The purpose is to improve their sense of awareness and what it involves. The film provides invaluable insight from school nurses about public health nursing, highlighting the diverse and challenging elements of the role. Young people feature in the film, offering personal insight into how school nurses can support them on a range of issues.
This film is also a great resource to use with partner organisations and other professional groups to raise the profile of the profession and awareness of the diverse, complex and rewarding role of school nurses. Many thanks to those who were involved – no Oscars, but a great resource! Please do take the time to watch the film and share widely!