Journal of Professional Nursing


Cath Hedley, RN, MN. Nurse Coordinator B4 School Checks, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board
Shona Thompson, PhD. Research Fellow, Faculty of Health and Sport Science, EIT, Hawke’s Bay
Kay Morris Matthews, PhD. Research Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, EIT, Hawke’s Bay
Mandy Pentecost, MA, M.Couns, MNZAC. Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, EIT, Hawke’s Bay
Judy Wivell, MPhil (Hons); MSW (Applied)(Hons). Senior lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, EIT, Hawke’s Bay
Ariana Stockdale Frost, Dip.Ed. Studies; Dip. Business. Field Researcher, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, EIT, Hawke’s Bay
Helen Morris, B4 School Checks Administrator, Health Hawke’s Bay, Hastings

Hedley, C., Thompson, S., Morris Matthews, K., Pentecost, M., Wivell, J., Stockdale Frost, A., & Morris, H., (2012). The B4 school check behaviour measures: Findings from the Hawke’s Bay evaluation. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 28(3), 13-23.



The Before (B4) School Check is a free health and development check delivered by specifically trained nurses to four year old children throughout New Zealand, aimed to identify and address any health, behavioural, social or developmental concerns that could affect a child’s ability to get the most benefit from school. Reported here are the results of an evaluation of the B4 School Checks in Hawke’s Bay, focusing specifically on children assessed at the B4 School Check with behaviour issues as determined by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

Health Hawke’s Bay (HHB) records were reviewed to understand the number and demographics of the children assessed with behaviour issues at the B4 School Checks up to 31 August 2011, and the interventions to which they were referred. Telephone Interviews were conducted with 36 parents/caregivers of these children to address the questions, what difference did the B4 School Check make to children assessed with behaviour issues and what aspects of the B4 School Check delivery contributed to successful outcomes for these children?

Results showed that child behaviour issues in Hawke’s Bay were identified in more boys than girls and concentrated in more deprived families. Māori children were represented in numbers disproportional to the regional population. The majority of referrals for child behaviour directed parents/caregivers to non-governmental organisations for family support and parenting programmes.

Thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data derived from the interviews with parents/caregivers and results indicated high levels of satisfaction with the B4 School Check for behaviour and the referred outcomes. Implications for nursing practice arise from these findings in that they identify factors which contribute to what does and does not work well for achieving successful outcomes from the B4 School Check for behaviour.

Keywords: Before (B4) School Checks; child behaviour; nurse evaluation; parenting support

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