Liz Clark is a school nurse with Lambeth Primary Care Trust in
Q: What is the aim of your job?
A: To promote healthy lifestyles, help prevent ill-health
and address the health needs of school-aged children and young
people so that health problems don’t get in the way of them
achieving their potential.
Q: What is an average day like?
A: An average day might begin by talking about immunisations to a
group of young people in a school assembly, then doing health
assessments with a group of five-year-olds in a primary school to
check their hearing, vision and growth. Lunchtime could incorporate
a drop-in session with teenagers at a secondary school, including
giving out information and offering complementary therapies to help
tackle stress in the run up to exams. My afternoon at the clinic
will involve replying to messages, following up notifications
received for children who have recently attended an A&E
department, writing up records for children seen during the day,
and forward planning. The day might end with a teaching session for
school staff about hygiene precautions or the management of
allergic reactions in the school
Q: Who are the main sorts of people you come into contact
A: One of the really interesting aspects of this job is
the variety of people we meet and work with, including children,
young people, their families, and a whole host of education,
police, social work and health staff working in the community.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Helping to set up innovative projects, such as the
extended school programme which involves incorporating learning
about health in new ways within an education setting.
Q: What is the worst part?
A: Dealing with challenging child protection issues and
not being able to change things as soon as I’d like.
Q: Do you need any specific
A: To be a school nurse you need to be a qualified nurse and have
experience of working with children, preferably in the community.
We also have support staff working within our teams, who can train
to help with health promotion and health screening alongside
Q: What personal qualities do you need?
A: Lots of energy and enthusiasm as the job can get very
busy. Also, a positive outlook, plenty of patience, and a sense of
humour is very useful!
Q: How much do you earn?
A: It depends where in the country you work and whether you work
term-time only or all year round, but the average school nurse
earns between œ17,000 and œ25,000.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking of
becoming a school nurse?
A: Anyone interested should phone or go to a community
health centre and ask to speak to a school nurse – we’ve recruited
to our team as a result of initial enquiries like this.