Journal Article

The role of the school nurse in protecting children and young people from maltreatment: An integrative review of the literature


Objectives. This review aims to describe the role of the school nurse in protecting children and young people from maltreatment by examining the international literature. Child maltreatment is a prevalent issue in global society today and includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation. School nurses are ideally placed to identify and work with children and young people who are at risk of maltreatment through their regular contact with the school community. Design. Integrative literature review incorporating thematic analysis. Data Sources. Electronic databases British Nursing Database, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Medline, PsycInfo, Cochrane Library Database for Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL). Search Terms: Role, School Nurse, Child Maltreatment. Review Methods. Initial title and abstract review of 444 studies resulted in 78 studies for full text review. Additional search strategies identified one relevant study. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were employed as follows; (1) study published in the English language, (2) peer-reviewed, (3) primary research, (4) inclusion of school nurses (or equivalent role internationally) in the study sample, and (5) a focus on the role of school nurses in preventing child maltreatment. Studies were appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool for qualitative studies and the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology checklist for mixed-methods and quantitative studies. Findings from the studies were identified, summarised and organised into a summary table, before being analysed thematically. Results. 21 studies met inclusion and quality criteria and were included in the review. Key themes that emerged from the analysis were; supporting the child and family, detective work, working with other professionals, training and supervision, barriers to protecting children and young people from maltreatment and trust. Conclusion. International literature highlights the variety of activities that school nurses may undertake in daily practice to protect children and young people from maltreatment. Several challenges to this role are identified, including time management and building relationships with children and young people. Recommendations for practice and further research are made.

Attached files


Harding, Lauren
Davison-Fischer, Jan
Bekeart, Sarah
Appleton, Jane V.

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery\Department of Nursing


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-01-03

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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