Background. The United Kingdom National Health Service aims to provide a holistic ‘cradle to grave’ service. In order to achieve this, systems are in place for effective communication between providers of services for babies and children. However, when children leave school, communication between the school health services and workplace health services to protect and promote the health of the new workforce is rare. Working together is a commonly-stated rhetoric of contemporary nursing theory, but often this is not applied in practice. School health and occupational health have similar aims and objectives and, by working together, may be able to improve the health of large populations for a lifetime.
Aim. This paper aims to examine the similarities in principles and practices between school health and occupational health nurses, and to identify areas of overlap in which collaboration could improve care for clients of both services.
Discussion. The paper examines the nature of nursing in occupational and school settings, and similarities and differences in policy, law and principles. It also examines these two areas of practice within a public health framework, looking for areas of overlap. A basis is suggested for collaborative working between the two areas, and barriers, facilitators and benefits of this practice are examined.
Conclusion. We conclude that there does exist a natural alliance between occupational and school health nursing, and that the two should work together to provide continuity of care for clients on leaving school, and to prepare children and young people for the workplace and any special health issues in their chosen careers.