Open letters about health dialogues reveal school staff and students' expectations of school health promotion leadership

Catrine Kostenius, Catarina Lundqvist
2021 Health Education  
PurposeThis study explores to what extent health promotion policy in practice and leadership engagement is reflected in school actors' experiences of health dialogues (HDs) and their ideas about promoting health and learning in schools.Design/methodology/approachThe 93 participants consisted of 44 school nurses, 37 students in grades 4, 7 or the first year of high school and 12 teachers, who shared their experiences with HDs by writing open letters.FindingsThe qualitative content analysis
more » ... tent analysis resulted in four themes: Putting health on the agenda, Finding a common goal, Walking side by side and Pointing out a healthy direction. The participants' expectations of school health promotion leadership are revealed in suggestions on how the HDs can fulfill both the educational assignment and promote student health.Practical implicationsBased on the findings, we argue that for successful school health promotion leaders need to acknowledge the field of tension where leadership has to take place, anchor health promotion policy and administer "a Sandwich approach" – a top-down and bottom-up leadership simultaneously that facilitates school-based health promotion.Originality/valueWhen different school actors (school nurses, teachers and students) are given a voice, a collective picture of HDs can emerge and help develop health promotion practices.
doi:10.1108/he-06-2020-0046 fatcat:lrzc5tilsfcdblkpuggryhmi6y