UK schools roll out pilot student-to-nurse text messaging services

The nurse's office is one of the busier places in  the school. Some students who receive daily medication come by, while others are randomly feeling under the weather. Now, students in the United Kingdom may have the opportunity to ask nurses about their health problems, without paying them a visit.

The National Health Service (NHS) provided funding for Leicester, Evington and Judgemeadow College to test out a school-wide text messaging service for students between the ages of 11 and 19. This system enables pupils to inquire about illnesses, symptoms and other health-related concerns anonymously, the Leicester Mercury News explained.

"We've had more students contacting school nurses since they've been able to get in touch with us through the messaging service," Dawn Batson, Judgemeadow's nurse told the source. "We've also had more contact from teenage boys, who are usually less likely than girls to approach a healthcare professional and talk about their problems, including emotional well-being."

Nurses in these communities will continue to invite children to visit the office if they feel it is necessary, but the staff has found this SMS service to be extremely effective since the pilot program launched nine months ago. Based on the results of the pilot, the NHS hopes to expand the communication platform in all schools in Rutland and Leicestershire in the next two months.

"School nurses need to be accessible on that platform if we are to keep NHS services convenient and accessible for young people," Maggie Clarke, senior nurse at Leicestershire, added.

One of the biggest benefits of this SMS program is that nurses may have more time to be prepared if an illness is spreading across the student body. If children are reporting similar symptoms during the same time period, it likely a common virus or illness is growing.

American and Canadian school districts can also benefit from this program. Nurses are more aware of the latest ailments and the administration can take action before it is too late. Swift SMS Gateway can help communities find an appropriate solution.