A team from The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has been shortlisted for a national award for developing a programme aimed at reducing infant mortality.
The 0-19 Team, based at the Gem Centre in Wednesfield, has been nominated as a finalist in the Innovations category for the RCNi Nurse Awards 2020, the profession's top accolade.
The development team from the 0-19 service, led by Sue Watts with Practice Education Facilitator (PEF) Hilary Williams, Keren Dale, School Nurse, and Kerry Porter, the Public Health Associate, developed an education programme called ‘Choose Healthy, Choose You’.
Public Health in Wolverhampton received funding from NHS England and commissioned the 0-19 service to develop a package so Year 12 (ages 16 to 17) students could increase their knowledge of the risks. The Year 12 group was identified because the health education programme in secondary education only runs from Year 7 to 11. The team also developed a teacher training package.
The 0-19 Team Leader and PEF established the key messages - the benefits of breastfeeding, risks of smoking and alcohol in pregnancy and timing of a pregnancy.
Five secondary schools from areas with the highest infant mortality rates were identified to take part in a pilot. A PowerPoint presentation and models of babies and foetuses showing the potential outcomes of smoking, drug and alcohol use in pregnancy were used to demonstrate the causes, while discussions and a range of resources were used to promote the benefits of breastfeeding within the school environment.
Sue Watts said: “Very positive feedback was received from students and teachers. If we can get young people thinking about these areas now, we have a fantastic opportunity to influence their future decision making and have significant impact on reducing infant mortality rates.”
The COVID-19 pandemic affected plans to roll out the scheme to all 18 secondary schools in Wolverhampton during this academic year and delivery only took place in 12.
However, given the success and positive feedback of the programme, the team now plan to adapt this for delivery in other educational settings in the city, such as special schools, pupil referral units, the Youth Offending Team and explore the feasibility of delivery in colleges. The Trust is also exploring opportunities to market the programme to other areas in the West Midlands.
Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby, Chief Nurse of the Trust, said: “This is a well-deserved shortlisted nomination proactively addressing infant mortality by providing young people with the tools to make the right lifestyle choices, promoting better health for themselves and their future families.
"What started as a pilot has been rolled out across the city of Wolverhampton, the resources and outcomes being shared across the West Midlands. I am immensely proud of our 0-19 Team and what they have achieved.”
The team now have to deliver a ten-minute presentation to the RCNi on August 5 after which the judges will make their decision.