Challenging collaboration across professional and sectorial boundaries in schools
Nordic School of Public Health NHVJul 05, 2012 05:35 EDT
It is a challenge to get inter-professional collaboration going in the schools. But inter-professional collaboration is needed if the psychosocial environment in the school's should be set higher on the agenda. This is showed in a new Master of Public Health at the Nordic School of Public Health NHV.
The aim of the study was to demonstrate the school's perception of the experience with, and the need for, inter-professional collaboration, in order to fulfill the school's legal obligations to promote health, wellbeing and effective learning among students.
The author Sissel Austberg has in her position as school nurse and also administrative positions been working on topics that affect students and their health and well-being for the last few decades. She has registered an increase in the number of inquiries from schools with request for assistance from professionals outside the schools. The inquiries appear to be related to the complexity found in the pupils, which shows that all sorts of students are present in the regular school, both pupils with and without problems.
The schools are noticing that the learning ability of students who are struggling with problematic life experiences is adversely affected. In this situation the teachers have to take on many roles, beyond its primary role as a professional educator.
The study also shows that experiences of collaboration across professional boundaries, specifically when it comes to working with the psychosocial environment in school, are few.
“When inter-professional collaboration takes place it is mostly in relation to individual students and often it gets stared by coincidence”, says Sissel Austberg.
This calls for a more structured form of collaboration, with other professions within the schools.
There is a story often told about a "project fatigue"; requirements for participation in short-term labor, organized and financed by project funds, perceived as not very useful.
The school is today searching new and different knowledge and expertise, in the ambition of creating a good psychosocial environment for the students. Participants in the study, who trough the study had been part of a structured inter-professional collaboration, showed the greatest motivation for further cooperation.
The study's overall goal is to put the need for knowledge of various forms of cooperation, and implementation of cooperation between different professions and sectors on the agenda, particularly in schools and in public health in general.