Medical advice for sick-reported students in a Dutch vocational school: a process evaluation

K. Jenniskens*, J.J.M. Meis, G.A.R. Zijlstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Medical Advice for Sick-reported Students (MASS) is an intervention that aims to reduce medical absenteeism and prevent dropout among students. The current study reports on a process evaluation of the implementation of MASS at a vocational school in the Netherlands. The evaluation included the implementation process, fidelity, context, and participant satisfaction. The study had a qualitative case study design. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders, including a child and youth healthcare physician, MASS coordinators, career advisors, mentors, and students with concerning sickness absence. MASS was largely implemented as intended, but some deviations from the original intervention were found. For example, not all mentors identified concerning sickness absence through recommended criteria. A fit between the intervention and the values of the involved organizations was found. Facilitating contextual factors were identified, such as a perceived need for reducing school absence recognized within the care network, as well as hampering contextual factors, for example the limited visibility of students' absence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were generally satisfied with MASS and its implementation. Overall, MASS was implemented well according to interviewees, but several improvement points for both the implementation and execution of MASS were identified. These include full implementation across the setting, providing and repeating necessary trainings, minimizing administrative burden, and securing financial and human resources for sustainment of the intervention. These points could help to guide future implementation efforts, as they may help to overcome common barriers to implementation.Lay Summary Medical Advice for Sick-reported Students (MASS) is an intervention that aims to reduce sickness absence and prevent dropout among students. The current study looked at how this intervention was put to practice at a vocational school in South Limburg, The Netherlands. For this, interviews were conducted with people from the vocational school and the Public Health Services (GGD) South Limburg who were involved in MASS, including a child and youth healthcare physician, MASS coordinators, students, career advisors, and mentors. These interviews showed that overall, MASS was used in practice as intended, it fitted well with the vocational school and the GGD, and most people involved were satisfied with the intervention and how it was put to practice. However, several improvement points for future use were identified as well. These improvement points can help improve MASS at the vocational school in The Netherlands, and could also be useful for other public health interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdaad019
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Promotion International
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • process evaluation
  • vocational education
  • medical absence
  • intervention
  • IMPLEMENTATION
  • PROGRAM
  • ABSENTEEISM

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