Urbis, in partnership with Cox Inall Ridgeway (CIR), has been commissioned by NSW Ministry of Health to conduct an evaluation of the expanded Wellbeing and Health In-reach Nurse (WHIN) Coordinator Program. 

The WHIN Coordinator Program is delivered in partnership between the NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education. The program began as a pilot in 2018 with three sites and has since been expanded to involve more than 400 schools and more than 100 school-based Wellbeing Nurses (WN).

The Wellbeing Nurse works within schools and connects with local health and social services, providing care coordination to support the health and wellbeing of students and their families. Students and their families are supported on a wide range of health and wellbeing issues including mental health, social and behavioural support, physical health, and peer or family relationships. The aim of the program is to contribute to improved education, health, and wellbeing outcomes for children, young people, and families.

The evaluation

The evaluation adopted a mixed-methods approach, analysing available quantitative program and survey data, as well as qualitative insights from interviews and focus groups undertaken with health and education staff as well as students and their families.

A process evaluation in late-2023 focused on the implementation of the expanded service and learnings of a cross-departmental program, while an outcomes evaluation in mid-2024 will focus on evidence of positive impact on students and family’s access to health and wellbeing supports, and improved education, health, and wellbeing outcomes for children, young people and families.

The evaluation will guide the NSW Government in assessing the program’s outcomes and inform funding decision beyond 2024.