Teenagers’ perceptions on their experience of caring for an infant simulator over the weekend: implications for school nursing

Authors: Hussain, H., Jomeen, J., Hayter, M. and Tweheyo, R.

Publisher: SAGE

ISSN: 1059-8405

School nurses are key professionals in the promotion of sexual and reproductive health in schools. Reducing unplanned teen pregnancy is a central element to this work. The use of virtual baby simulator dolls as part of sex and relationship education in schools educating teenagers (13-17 years) as a means of reducing teen childbearing has grown in popularity. However, previous research has produced mixed findings on the effectiveness of such ‘virtual baby programs’ run in schools. This study not only considered the impact of the responsibility of practical parenting skills of teenagers but assessed variables such as increases in meta-cognitive self-awareness, stress and time management and the degree to which caring for babies discouraged teenagers from adolescent parenting. Findings found improved meta-cognition around sexual health, contraception use and abstinence and pupils saw the virtual baby doll project as beneficial and important in schools one year after they took part in the programme.

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