A Realist Evaluation of the Refocused School Nurse Programme within Early Adopter Sites in Scotland

1. Doi L, Wason D, Malden S, Jepson R (2017) A Realist Evaluation of the Refocused School Nurse Programme within Early Adopter Sites in Scotland. Scottish Government, Edinburgh. http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/07/2706/0
The school health service is a universally accessible service provided to children and young people, aged 5-19 years and their families. Historically the school nursing role has played a significant part within this service. Models, roles and skill mix have varied greatly across Scotland and have encompassed; direct interventions with pupils in schools, a teaching and education focused role and a wider public health and community function. The publication of CEL 13 (2013)[2] aimed to redefine this role to focus on delivering consistent and more efficient services to meet current needs of the 5-19 Scottish population. The work to re-focus the School Nurse (SN) role has been undertaken by a national Steering Group commissioned by CNO/SEND. Since September 2015, two health boards, Dumfries and Galloway (D&G) and Tayside (within Perth and Kinross (P&K)) have been piloting the refocused role, including the role of the wider school health team, and associated re-design requirements. These early adopter sites are seeking to provide learning and guidance to support the impending national role out of the service.
The aim of the evaluation was to assess how the refocused school nursing role worked in both D&G and P&K, in order to provide learning and guidance to support SN training and any further roll out and evaluation of the service.
A realist framework informed this evaluation, combining both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Realist evaluation uses a theory-driven approach to evaluate healthcare or social programmes. Interviews were held with staff from the SN teams and managers, both on an individual basis and in groups. The information gathered was analysed in accordance with realist evaluation methodology. Secondary data from the first 6 months of the pilot was also collected and analysed in order to capture patterns of referral both in and out of the school nursing service and the pathways being used for children.

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Publication Information
Date of Publication 27/07/2017
Link http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/07/2706/0
Larry Doi, Dr Deborah Wason, Stephen Malden & Ruth Jepson SCPHRP, University of Edinburgh;Evaluation Team, NHS Health Scotland