Rebecca was working as a nurse in Tasmania when she heard about new opportunities for nurses to work in schools, and was excited by the idea. Further study was recommended  before jumping into the high school environment, so Rebecca enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.

Rebecca Osborn

I had experience with adolescents, working in the community for about 15 years, but this course cemented a lot of ideas around lack of privilege and how this influences adolescent children’s health and wellbeing outcomes.

I prefer face-to-face learning, but the course was set up so well that the online experience felt seamless, and I could complete the course part time, while still working.

It provided me with a thorough understanding of where disadvantage becomes circular, and how mental health, unemployment, drug use, and demographic isolation all fit together. This enabled a greater degree of empathy for students from those backgrounds who I work with every day.

The course taught me how to do practical aspects of my job, such as funding applications. Following a recent proposal, I was able to secure $5,500 for drums, to introduce a drumming program in my school.

I understand how broad health and wellbeing is, and this gives me the professional structure to put those ideas into practice. It gave me a mixture of personal and professional expertise.

I have recommended the course to other nurses, who wanted to become school nurses. Especially those who have come from an acute care setting and want to work in schools, it is a steep learning curve without this background.

I am now involved in health promotion for students and the community; it can be down to basics like sleep and nutrition and mental health, relationship violence and what your personal relationships look like. Lots of policy work, canteen policies, sun smart policy, mental health support, sexual health, drug and alcohol support and education.

Learn more about studying Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

School nurses are currently in 50 to 60 percent of schools in Tasmania, and the staff are now permanent Department of Education employees. We work with school social workers and psychologists, bringing together a network of adolescent health and wellbeing professionals to support the development of students.