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This study was a pre-program evaluation of hospital-based nurses' tobacco intervention beliefs, confidence, training, practice, and perceived intervention barriers and facilitators. It was designed to identify relevant information prior to implementing tobacco cessation guidelines across a large northern rural region, home to 1 urban and 12 rural hospitals.
This cross-sectional survey was distributed by nurse managers to nurses in the 13 hospitals and returned by nurses (N = 269) via mail to the researchers.
Nurses were somewhat confident providing cessation interventions, agreed they should educate patients about tobacco, and 94% perceived tobacco counselling as part of their role. Although only 11% had received cessation training, the majority reported intervening, even if seldom--91% asked about tobacco-use, 96% advised quitting, 89% assessed readiness to quit, 88% assisted with quitting, and 61% arranged post-discharge follow-up. Few performed any of these steps frequently, and among those who intervened, the majority spent < 10 minutes. The most frequently performed activities tended to take the least amount of time, while the more complex activities (e.g., teaching coping skills and pharmacotherapy education) were seldom performed. Patient-related factors (quitting benefits and motivation) encouraged nurses to intervene and work-related factors discouraged them (time and workloads). There were significant rural-urban differences--more rural nurses perceived intervening as part of their role, reported having more systems in place to support cessation, reported higher confidence for intervening, and more frequently assisted patients with quitting and arranged follow-up.
The findings showed nurses' willingness to engage in tobacco interventions. What the majority were doing maps onto the recommended minimum of 1-3 minutes but intervention frequency and follow-up were suboptimal. The rural-urban differences suggest a need for more research to explore the strengths of rural practice which could potentially inform approaches to smoking cessation in urban hospitals.