Western Sydney Local Health District’s Youth Health team place six new wellbeing and health nurses into western Sydney schools

Standing behind L to R – Yash Amarasekara /  Janet Annor / Brenda Mwanza
Sitting in front L to R – Jenille Mina / Sharon Albrecht / Wai (Zoe) Cheng

Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Youth Health team has placed six new Wellbeing and Health In-reach Nurse (WHIN) coordinators in western Sydney high schools.

As part of the commitment to improve the overall health of students in New South Wales (NSW) the program puts a Wellbeing Nurse in identified secondary schools to provide ‘in-reach’ delivery to students and their families.

The six WHINs have gone into the following western Sydney High Schools: Greystanes High, Granville South Performing Arts, Chifley College Shalvey, Doonside Technology High, Arthur Phillip High and Cumberland High.

The WHINS also support students from the primary schools that feed into these high schools.

One WHIN, who is based in the Granville School, Janet, has more than 100 young people and family members currently in her care and said, “being a WHIN is fun and I love that no single day at work is the same”.

Janet has been a nurse in WSLHD for more than 20 years and was “drawn to the WHIN role to help empower youth”.

Granville South Public School Principal, Karen Macphail, applauded the WSLHD Youth Health initiative and said, “I just wanted to say thank you. I don’t know where you got Janet from, but she is truly an absolute angel. She is making such a phenomenal difference to the lives of some of our families”.

The Wellbeing Nurses develop relationships with community-based services in their areas and liaise with their school’s wellbeing teachers and Learning Support Teams to provide wholistic care and support for the students and their families.

The WHINs provide students with health education across a wide range of pertinent topics including mental health, sexual health and drug abuse.

The team is currently working on delivering education sessions on the dangers of vaping.

When the WHINs were asked how the students at their schools will benefit from the program, better access to health services and improved health literacy was the resounding response.

The WHINs bring a wealth of experience with them and decades of expertise in working with young people.

Jenille was a Clinical Nurse Specialist & Educator at Sydney Children’s Hospital and also worked at the Acute Inpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit.

At Arthur Phillip High she is actively involved in closing the gap between education and health.

Sharon is based at Doonside Technology High School and knows WSLHD incredibly well, having provided nursing to the community members for over 30 years.

She loves the team of WHINs she works with and said she’s “excited about working with a team of highly motivated nurses who love sharing resources and knowledge”.

Graeme Pringle, WSLHD’s Youth Health Coordinator, is excited about the program as it allows students and their families in WSLHD to access a well-being nurse for their health needs.

The Well-being Nurse program is another way we provide young people access to appropriate health services to ensure they are able to participate in their education“

Graeme Pringle

The WHIN Coordinator program started as a pilot in 2018 and is a partnership between NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education.