School Nursing and vision checks
19/06/2014The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has moved to reassure parents that its School Nursing service provides vision checks for P1 pupils as part of a health assessment, following recent publicity on vision screening in schools.
Julie McConville, Head of Health Visiting and School Nursing at the Southern Trust, helps plan the regional School Health Child Health Promotion Programme with the nursing leads for School Nursing.
“In the last school year, 5694 Primary 1 children in 205 schools had their vision checked” explains Julie. “School Nurses are trained by Orthoptists to check for reduced visual acuity that may require further care and treatment. Last year, 721 children were referred to the Orthoptic Service by the school nurse. If reduced vision is confirmed, then the child will have a refraction examination by an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist to see if there is long sight or short sight present.
“School Nurses follow regionally agreed guidance on vision screening and use an evidence based vision screening tool. Every pupil in Primary 1 is offered a health assessment which identifies any health needs and in addition to the child having their vision checked, hearing and growth are also assessed.”
Diane Nicholson is a School Nurse with the Trust. Based at Kilkeel Primary Care Centre, Diane has links with 18 Primary and Post Primary Schools in Newry, Warrenpoint, Rathfriland and the Kilkeel area.
“In my role as a School Nurse I see children for their Primary 1 and Year 8 health reviews,” says Diane. “This includes growth monitoring, hearing and vision screening in Primary 1 and looking out for emotional and development issues.”
In addition to the service to primary schools’ pupils, the School Nursing Service provides care and support to Year 8-12 pupils in post primary schools.
South Down School Nurse Diane Nicholson