Background and Context:
Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease.
Research shows the important role of health professionals in encouraging and supporting patients to make positive lifestyle changes. Health professionals have access to the majority of the community in a health focused environment and as a respected and trusted source of information, patients are receptive to their health messages.
Strong evidence shows that smokers are more likely to quit with their health professional’s help. Even brief advice makes a difference – it increases quit rates. Brief advice can be provided without adding significant time to the consultation.
Despite this, not every health professional asks patients about smoking. Engaging in the conversation has challenges. Concerns include jeopardising rapport and relationships, lack of confidence and lack of time.
This presentation highlights the important role of health professionals and how participation in smoking cessation training increases confidence, knowledge and skills to enable them to motivate, encourage and support their smoking patients to quit.
With a focus on nurses, the presentation highlights engaging in the ‘behaviour change’ conversation in as little as three to five minutes within routine practice. When addressed appropriately, health professionals will feel empowered and energised to provide patients with evidence-based and practical information.
Research shows that health professionals who participate in smoking cessation training more readily carry out smoking cessation interventions with their patients.
Training encourages increased efforts to routinely identify, advise and assist patients to change behaviour. Patients make more attempts to quit when their health professional has raised smoking with them, and have increased success. Such intervention makes a difference.
Outcomes/What was learned:
Quitting has immediate and long term benefits for individuals and the community. Smoking cessation training for health professionals is a worthwhile, cost-effective health investment.