Times are difficult for many children across the UK. Issues such as poor mental health and child sexual abuse are frequently in the headlines. But we have the means at our disposal to improve things and ensure that UK children develop well and grow up able to learn well and to develop healthy relationships.
The ways that health visitors and school nurses help children take many forms from evidence based assessments such as ASQ 3 to interventions focussed on positive behaviour change. Health visiting and school nursing takes place in a wide variety of places but is always focused on improving children’s outcomes.
Health visitors and school nurses are our key professionals for leading delivery of the Healthy Child Programme. From 1st October 2015 Local Authorities will commission both these services. This provides a great opportunity to develop public sector services to children with health visitors and school nurses playing a central role in leading and improving public health services to children of all ages.
We are developing a new e-learning resource to help health visitors and school nurses improve their understanding of children’s needs. It has six sections covering emotional well-being and mental health issues as well as looking at meeting the needs of children with additional health needs or disabilities.
The resource will be useful for the continuing professional development of both experienced and newly qualified health visitors and school nurses. It will contain information about best practice and self-assessment questions as well as links and suggested further reading for those needing more depth.
The e-learning package will take in diverse subjects from infant mental health to asthma and self-harm. It is intended to provide an introduction to improving the care to babies and children. We are planning to launch it in November and it will be available via the E-Learning for Healthcare website. It has been created in a partnership between CPHVA, SAPHNA, Health Education England, E-learning for Healthcare, and Public Health England.
Jill Beswick, Early Years Workforce Development Lead, Greater Manchester Public Service Reform Team