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Video transcript: Improving Together – Helping youth in alternative education use the health system, Nelson Bays primary health

A case study from Nelson. (English, 3 min 54 seconds)

Title: Case Study 5: Improving Together - Nelson case study


[Footage of Nelson town and youth working with the adolescent nurse specialist in a health clinic.]

Thirteen to sixteen year olds who attend alternative education because they have been excluded or suspended from mainstream education, face greater barriers to accessing primary health care than their peers, they lack health and general literacy skills.

They face practical barriers to accessing primary care, such as lack of funds and identification documents.

As an adolescent nurse specialist at Nelson based primary health Lee-Ann O'Brien runs health clinics that assess the health needs of every young person who comes into alternative education in the Nelson region. But let's hear the story from Lee-Ann herself.

Lee-Ann O’Brien - adolescent nurse specialist

So my names Lee-Ann O’Brien, I’m an adolescent nurse specialist and I work in Nelson Marlborough region with alternative education students and also with our teen parent unit and I’ve been doing this role now for the last six years in nelson and its really valuable.

[Footage of youth sitting at computers in an alternative education classroom.]

So we have in Nelson around 40 students, 40 to 50 students at one time who attend alternate education and another 15 or so who attend the teen parent unit in Nelson.

[Footage of Lee-Ann talking with youth in a health clinic office.]

And so my role and working with those young people is to figure out what their health needs are and what are some of their unmet health needs and how I can work with them to bridge the gap really and for the young people that I work with a lot of the health concerns that they have are quite complex.

So were looking at physical health problems that they may have and also some concerns around drug and and alcohol and mental health and sexual health.


[Footage of Lee-Ann working with youth in an alternative education classroom.]

The programme was held over terms three and four, and was made up of six one hour sessions.

Session one was an introduction to the programme, what a family doctor is and what they do. Then the group looked at various reasons for seeing a GP and role playing how to make an appointment.

[Footage of a teenage boy and health clinic worker role playing booking an appointment with a health clinic over the phone.]

Health clinic worker

Hi medical centre, how can I help?


Hi can I please make an appointment.

Health clinic worker

Absolutely, when would you like the appointment?


[Footage of Lee-Ann working with youth in an alternative education classroom.]

Another important gap was documentation, checking if students had birth certificates, bank accounts, community services cards and whether they were enrolled with a GP.

Lee-Ann O’Brien

So when we got them some forms to fill out a lot of them didn’t know how to fill out the forms.

Partly it was literacy issues, and the other aspect was they didn’t understand words like next of kin or or DOB for date of birth or even a title of what they could be called. Whether it’s a Miss, or a Ms or a Master. So a lot of that language that were in the forms people didn’t know. So we spent a good session really actually going through what a form meant and how to fill it out.


[Footage of a teenage boy visiting a health clinic and completing a form]

Site visits to a practice to familiarize students with a clinic environment and to practice making an appointment with a receptionist was a valuable part of the programme.

As a result of taking part, students showed increased confidence in accessing health care, they recognised that seeing a doctor is an easy process and could fill out a form or navigate the clinical environment.

Completing the programmes also gives students literacy credits and oral language skills and filling out forms.

Lee-Ann O’Brien

The outcomes for the programme, and the difference that it made to the students was about their understanding about how to access a GP, they certainly had a lot more confidence in knowing that a doctor or GP was an ok person to talk too about anything.


[Footage of teenage boys throwing a rugby ball around and working in the alternative education classroom]

The barriers to health care access faced by youth nelson students are likely to apply equally to alternative education students throughout New Zealand.

Lee-Ann plans to deliver the programme again at youth Nelson as well as rolling it out to other education centres. She is currently training a colleague to deliver the programme in Blenheim.

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