School nurses should consider wearing uniform

One of England's most senior nurses says many children want their school nurse to wear a uniform

School nurses should consider wearing uniforms because that is what many children want to see, according to one of England’s most senior nurses. 

Nursing Children and Young PeopleAs reported in RCNi’s journal Nursing Children and Young People, lead nurse for children, young people and families at Public Health England, Wendy Nicholson told a school nurses' international conference, that uniforms help nurses stand out and give them status.

She said: ‘There has been a debate in our profession about whether school nurses should go back to wearing uniforms, and I know that some services are considering it.

'We did a consultation exercise with organisations such as the British Youth Council and we engaged with 2,500 children and young people. They told us that they like to see school nurses in a uniform, so that they know who they are and they can pick them out from the geography teacher. We distilled the findings of the consultation down to three main messages: children and young people want school nursing services to be accessible, confidential and visible.’

Chair of the Standing Commission on Carers, which advises ministers in England, Dame Philippa Russell added: ‘Pupils at school want nurses to wear uniforms. I spoke to one boy recently and he said that he wanted a nurse to be a friend, but he also wanted her to be a professional. If she seemed just like a friend he might not be able to talk to her.’ 

Ms Nicholson added: ‘It has been a challenge in the past for colleagues in central government to engage with children and young people, but we want to make sure that we do that from now on. There is a tendency to think that childhood is a magical time, but for some it is a nightmare.’ 

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