In addition to ensuring that pupils are always in good health, the National Education, through school medicine, also makes sure that these children become responsible for their health. Throughout schooling, school nurses and doctors organize at least two systematic health check-ups for school-age children. But is this enough to ensure good follow-up of their health?
LET’S FIRST TRY TO FIND OUT WHAT SCHOOL MEDICINE REALLY IS
A public service managed by the National Education system, school medicine focuses mainly on the medical monitoring of pupils and, of course, on health education: health monitoring of pupils, preventive and educational actions, hygiene of the premises, integration of disabled pupils, in-depth consultation if necessary, support for young people in difficulty, prevention of pupil abuse, etc. The school medicine teams, consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers and secretaries, will in this case carry out screening and prevention of disorders that may hinder pupils’ schooling and the promotion of behaviour favourable to health. In order to carry out their missions, these teams intervene in kindergarten up to the middle section (through maternal and child protection) in primary, secondary and post-baccalaureate studies.
SCHOOL DOCTORS MONITOR THE HEALTH OF PUPILS MORE CLOSELY
In order to ensure good health monitoring of the pupils, a first check-up must be carried out between the child’s 5th and 6th years of age. This assessment is mainly intended to detect minor handicaps and anomalies related to vision and behaviour and also to discover if there are any language disorders in the pupil. Then, there is the second assessment which will take place during the orientation. Whether it is after the first or the second assessment, the results obtained must be noted in the student’s medical records. These results are strictly confidential. Apart from the two check-ups carried out, the school medical teams must take a greater interest in certain pupils with difficulties, particularly those who are handicapped or suffering from a chronic disease. In this case, the doctors and nurses must have the specific medicines and equipment available in case of complications.
WILL SCHOOL MEDICINE DISAPPEAR?
Today, we can see that school medicine is becoming increasingly extinct. In spite of the increasing number of missions and of course the strong increase in the number of pupils, the number of doctors in the National Education system is currently in freefall. This drop in shift work is just due to very low salaries. Indeed, it simply risks jeopardizing school health prevention. What’s more, this situation may further promote school failure, addictions, obesity… among young people.