The role of school nurses in supporting young carers

The role of school nurses in supporting young carers

School nurses play an important role in identifying school aged young carers both in and out of education. Public health nurses can play an important role in identifying and supporting families where there may be a child or young person caring or who could become a carer.

Key Points: 

  • A pathway has been developed to support integrated working between the school nursing service, other public health nurses and partners in supporting young carers and their families
  • A programme has been established to train nurses across England to become ‘Young Carer Champions’
  • The Royal College of Nursing has developed online training for nurses on how to support young carers and their families
I work with: 
Location: 
Date Revised: 
23/10/14

The school nurse can play a key role in identifying young carers at an early stage, protecting their health and wellbeing and ensuring that they and their families are linked into and receiving further support from other services that they may need.

Supported by Carers Trust, several of its Network Partners and young adult carers involved in the Time to Be Heard campaign, the Department of Health have developed several strands of work for young carers:

Supporting the health and wellbeing of young carers

The Pathway Supporting the health and wellbeing of young carers is designed to support integrated working between the school nursing service, other public health nurses and partners in supporting young carers and their families. It sets out the rationale for effective partnership working recognising the need to offer support within a school and community context.

The pathway provides a model for a coordinated approach between school nursing, education, local authorities and young carers’ services, to ensure early identification of health and wellbeing needs and the provision of primary healthcare services to young carers and their families.

Young Carer School Nurse Champions

To complement the Pathway, school nurses across England are being trained to become Young Carer School Nurse Champions to give them a strong understanding of the pressures young carers face and how to ensure they receive the care they need.

On completion of the training, school nurses receive the Champion badge which will clearly identify to young carers those school nurses who have undergone training. To strengthen their role, a PDF iconSchool nurse champions charter has also been developed that sets out key messages and specific roles of a School Nurse Champion.

Work is also underway with the Department of Health to link up young carers’ services with their local school nurse.

School nurses community

Visit the Royal College of Nursing's School nurses' community website, that includes information about young carers in schools and "Meet the School Nurse Carer Champions".

Royal College of Nursing online learning resource

RCN Learning has a resource which aims to help school nurses and their teams to support young carers. It may also be of interest to children’s community nurses and health visitors.