PhD project: School Health services at a primary school level

This is an action research project. Project period 2021-2025.

The idea of action research is to pursue action and research, and at the same time develop new ideas and implement knowledge.


The overall aim is to explore how to optimize Public Health Nurses' (PHNs) ability to promote mental health and well-being for siblings in families who have children with complex care needs (CCNs) at a primary school level.

We have four main objectives:

I. To examine existing school-based interventions for siblings in families who have a child with complex care needs.

II. To develop a course that can promote PHNs’ awareness of the needs of siblings.

III. To improve PHNs` preparedness to meet siblings` needs. IV. To develop a tool that has been researched and assessed ethically to enable meaningful communication with each child and their parents.

We wish to study the perspectives of siblings, parents and public health nurses. We thus want to involve the field of practice to participate in the process where the conversional tool Sibling Talks1 is being tested, applied and researched.

The Phd project consists of three studies:  


Study 1: Bergvoll, L.-M., Fjelldal, S. S., Clancy, A., Martinussen, M., & Laholt, H. (2023). How do public health nurses in Norwegian school health services support siblings of children with complex care needs? Scand J Caring Sci. – a national survey  


Study 2: Provision of support to siblings of children with complex care needs: Public health nurses’ perceptions of their role in primary schools. – A focus group study  


Study 3: Siblings and parents’ experiences of health dialogues with public health nurses in primary schools using the Sibling Talks intervention. – interviews with siblings and parents  

Project team members and co supervisors: Professor Monica Martinussen and Karin Van Doesum (RKBU Nord)

Siblings at a lake Foto:


Hilde Laholt (Principal investigator)
Lise-Marie Bergvoll
Anne Clancy

Financial/grant information:

Ph.d. UiT, The Arctic University of Norway