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"If we only got a chance.” Barriers to and possibilities for a more health-promoting health service

Authors Johansson H, Weinehall L, Emmelin M

Published 22 December 2009 Volume 2010:3 Pages 1—9


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Helene Johansson1,2, Lars Weinehall1, Maria Emmelin1

1Epidemiology and Global Health, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; 2Ersboda Health Care Centre, Umeå, Sweden

Aim: With the overall objective to develop future strategies for a more health-promoting health service in Sweden, the aim of this paper was to describe how health personnel view barriers and possibilities for having a health-promoting role in practice.

Materials and methods: Seven focus group discussions were carried out with a total of 34 informants from both hospital and primary health care settings in Sweden. The informants represented seven professional groups; counselors, occupational therapists, assistant nurses, midwives, nurses, physicians, and physiotherapists. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: The analysis resulted in one major theme “If we only got a chance”. The theme captures the health professionals’ positive view about, and their willingness to, develop a healthpromoting and/or preventive role, while at the same time feeling limited by existing values, structures, and resources. The four categories, “organizational commitment to a paradigm shift”, “recognition of staff as health-promoting instruments”, “a balance between resources and tasks”, and “freedom of action” capture what is needed for implementing and increasing health promotion and preventive efforts in the health services.

Conclusions: The study indicates that an organizational setting that support health promotion is still to be developed. There is a need for a more explicit leadership with a clear direction towards the goal of “a more health–promoting health service” and with enough resources for achieving this goal.

Keywords: qualitative methods, health promotion, health care professionals, health service, perceptions

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