Exploring the need and potential role for school nurses in Saudi Arabian schools




Alqallaf, Hebah

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The purpose of this study was to explore the need for school nurses in the Saudi school system and to explore the current role of nurses in school health education and health promotion in Saudi Arabia. The study used a qualitative approach that was guided by implementation literature. Fifteen participants (8 nursing students; 4 nursing faculty members; 3 nurses) answered open-ended questions and participated in semi-structured interviews. From the findings, three themes emerged to identify the current role of nurses in Saudi Arabian school: “Health educator”, “Health promoter”, and “Liaison with community”. Four themes were identified based on the potential role of nurses in Saudi Arabian schools: “Leadership role”, “Care provider role”, “Educator role”, and “Liaison with community”. Five themes were identified based on facilitators and barriers to providing health and physical education in Saudi schools: “University and college level support”, “School health services”, “Governmental support”, “Lack of cultural approval”, and “Demand for nurses exceeds supply”. This study contributes to our understanding of what are the current and potential roles of nurses in Saudi Arabian schools, are nursing students currently prepared to provide health education and promotion to school staff and students, and what facilitators and barriers exist for nursing to provide health education and promotion in Saudi schools. This information can contribute to decision-making processes, formulation of necessary legislation, and government measures towards the implementation of school nursing and physical education, particularly in girls’ schools in Saudi Arabia, so as to maximize health and wellness in the Saudi community.



School nurse, Health promotion, Obesity, Physical activity