School Nurses' perspectives on the role of the school nurse in health education and health promotion in England: a qualitative study.
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BACKGROUND: The role of the school nurse is complex with many possible elements identified by previous research. The aim of this study is to understand perceptions of the role of the school nurse in order to support school nurses in the delivery of health education. METHODS: The study used an inductive, qualitative research design involving semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Participants were recruited from four NHS trusts across England and final sample size was thirty one school nurses. Three focus groups and two interviews took place in person, and three interviews were over the phone. Data was thematically analysed. RESULTS: School nurses described six main themes. Four themes directly related to the school nurse role: the main roles of a school nurse, school nurses' role in health education, prioritisation of workload and activities, and community work. A further two other themes related to the delivery of health education: the school nursing system and educational resources. CONCLUSIONS: The role of the school nurse in England is very diverse and the school nurse role in health education is primarily to advise and support schools, rather than to directly deliver education. The study identified that tailored public health educational resources are needed to support school nurses.