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School operations

Victorian School Nursing Program

Overview

This page outlines the key features and services offered by the Victorian School Nursing Program in primary and secondary schools.

Summary

  • The Victorian School Nursing Program comprises the Primary School Nursing Program and the Secondary School Nursing Program.
  • The Victorian School Nursing Program Guidelines inform and support the professional practice of the Victorian School Nursing Program.  This guidance does not relate to school nurses that are employed by school councils independent of the Department's Victorian School Nursing Program.

Advice

The objectives for the Victorian School Nursing Program (SNP) are to:

  • improve the health and wellbeing of Victorian students, with an added focus on students experiencing disadvantage
  • support health and wellbeing outcomes of students through referrals to appropriate services

While the Primary School Nursing Program (PSNP) and the Secondary School Nursing Program (SSNP) share similar objectives, they are different in scope and operation.

Victorian School Nursing Guidelines 

The purpose of the Victorian School Nursing Program Guidelines (the Guidelines) is to inform and support the professional practice of the SNP to achieve successful health and educational outcomes for school students.

The Guidelines also aim to provide role clarity, supporting principals and schools to understand the program, and to provide links to current government policy and strategic direction.

The Guidelines only apply to nurses employed under Public Administration Act 2004 (PAA) (Vic) who are covered by the Nurses (Department of Education and Training) Enterprise Agreement 2016 (Nurses Agreement) and not to any nurses a school may choose to employ as an Education Support employee under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) and the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017.

Primary School Nursing Program 

The PSNP is a free service offered to all children attending primary schools and English Language Centre schools in Victoria. Primary school nurses visit schools throughout the year and provide children with:

  • the opportunity to have a health assessment
  • information and advice about healthy behaviours
  • a link for children and families to community-based health and wellbeing services

The PSNP is designed to identify children with potential health-related learning difficulties and to respond to parent/carer concerns and observations about their child's health and wellbeing. Parents or carers complete the School Entrant Health Questionnaire (SEHQ) which is distributed during the first year of school. With parent/carer consent, follow-up health assessments are conducted by the school nurse as indicated. In certain circumstances free health assessments may also be offered to primary school students in years 1 to 6.

Other activities offered by the program may include formal and informal health education and health promotion to the school community.

Secondary School Nursing Program 

The SSNP aims to reduce risk to young people and promote better health in the wider community. Approximately two thirds of government secondary schools participate in the SSNP with the program targeted to Victoria’s most disadvantaged schools. Secondary school nurses are employed through regional offices of the Department, with most nurses allocated to two secondary schools.

The goals of the SSNP are to:

  • play a key role in reducing negative health outcomes and risk-taking behaviours among young people, including drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco smoking, eating disorders, obesity, depression, suicide and injuries
  • focus on prevention of ill health and problem behaviours by ensuring coordination between the school and community-based health and support services
  • support the school community in addressing contemporary health and social issues facing young people and their families
  • provide appropriate primary health care through professional clinical nursing, including assessment, care, referral and support
  • establish collaborative working relationships between primary and secondary school nurses to assist young people in their transition to secondary school

Relevant legislation

Department advice on the features and services offered by the Victorian School Nursing Program in primary and secondary schools

Reviewed 03 March 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools
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