The NSW government has established 100 new school-based wellbeing nurses across NSW to support the health and wellbeing of students and their families.

The wellbeing and health in-reach nurse coordinator program is a partnership between NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education.

The program has been developed as an additional support within schools with the specific aim of supporting students’ health and wellbeing needs.

Wellbeing nurses work closely with and are part of schools’ broader learning and support and wellbeing teams.

They also work with local health and social services to support students and their families on a wide range of health and wellbeing issues.

They are a valuable addition to schools’ learning and support and wellbeing teams.

The wellbeing nurses are employed by NSW Health but are located in schools.

Wellbeing nurses have a host school and typically work across a number of other schools within a principal network area (depending on the distance between schools and school size). The roles are positioned to align with the local health district that employs them and closely align with the local government area boundaries.

Wee Waa High School’s relieving principal Jacki Neil explained, “In Narrabri Shire’s case, our local wellbeing nurse Wendy White’s host school is Wee Waa High School. However, she also covers Wee Waa Public School, Narrabri High School, Narrabri West Public School and Narrabri Public School.”

Narrabri High School relieving principal, Simon Warden added, “The Narrabri and Wee Waa community is very fortunate to be part of this program”.

“Having worked in a school which was part of this program, I was able to see first-hand the benefits that it brings to students and their families. I am confident that this will be also the case for the schools in our community.”

Participating schools provide a room at their campus for the wellbeing nurse to meet with students and their families in privacy.

When in a school, the wellbeing nurse (‘WHIN coordinator’) operates as part of the learning and support and wellbeing team.

They may receive referrals from the support and wellbeing team as well as refer a student to others such as the school counsellor or school psychologist.

Students may also self-refer to make an appointment with their school wellbeing nurse.

Local wellbeing nurse Wendy White described the collaborative approach school wellbeing nurses take, ”We work closely with school counselling staff and the respective schools’ learning and support team.

“We identify and support the health and wellbeing needs of students and families, assist in coordination of appropriate early intervention, assessments, and support the coordination of referrals to appropriate services and programs.

“Navigating the health system can be complex.

“School wellbeing nurses support access to health programs and services to boost the health literacy of students and families.

“They build and maintain relationships with service providers, which assists them in establishing effective referral pathways.

“The school wellbeing nurses can support students and families with accessing services such as hearing, vision, dental and mental health, what they don’t provide is general first aid or direct health support.

Ms Neil added, “The pilot school wellbeing nurse program produced great results, and we are really pleased to be one of the schools selected to host and benefit from one of these nurses.”

To order photos from this page click here