School nurses help Gisborne pupils quit smoking

14 November 2013

Helping students quit smoking, arrange new glasses and attend school more frequently are just a few of the benefits for Gisborne students using School Based Health Services (SBHS).

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the SBHS programme, which provides around 56,000 high school students access to nurses in secondary schools, is helping to identify health issues in teenagers and connect them with health services.

“An onsite school nurse provides students with health advice and links them to other medical professionals, including GPs, dentists and optometrists. The nurse can help ensure students receive any free entitlements to other providers.

“Nurses also undertake wellness assessments with year 9 pupils and where needed refer students for extra support, including to the school counsellor or an external support service.”

Gisborne Boys’ High School Assistant Principal Tom Cairns says that the wellness assessment is making a difference to student welfare.

“We take the pastoral care of our boys very seriously and had no hesitation in coming on board with this service. We’ve asked the boys, and they tell us that the assessments are a good thing to do. So it’s been a positive thing for our school,” says Mr Cairns.

Following recent checks two students are getting help to quit smoking, glasses have been arranged for pupils and a truanting pupil is now attending school more regularly.

“It’s great to hear about such positive outcomes. This an important time in young people’s lives when there’s a lot of change and a range of pressures. Having access to nurses in schools who can help with a range of issues and get extra support if students need it, will also lead to better learning outcomes for our young people,” says Mr Ryall.

Under the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project the SBHS is being expanded to accommodate 19,000 more young people from decile 3 secondary schools. The service is already provided to decile 1 and 2 secondary schools, alternative education options and teen parent units.

Primary schools are serviced by public health nurses.

Media contact: Jannel Carter 027 589 8884