Graduate nurses and nursing student's behaviour: knowledge and attitudes toward smoking cessation
Background Smoking remains the largest single cause of preventable mortality. In rural Australia where the incidence of smoking is higher, health is substantially worse than other Australians. Smoking cessation is difficult with many attempts made before success. Health professionals are in a prime position to assist smoking cessation but are failing to consistently assess tobacco use and assist patients quit. Nurses who form the largest cohort of health care professionals, should play a part in smoking cessation yet their influential role is hugely underutilised. Given the strategic place of nurses to advance the anti-smoking message during clinical interactions, data was needed on smoking rates as well as on smoking attitudes and behaviours. Objectives To determine the smoking rates and behaviour as well as attitudes of nurses toward assisting hospitalised patients to cease smoking. Design Descriptive survey research design. Participants Non-probability sampling of undergraduate nursing students (n = 153) and graduate nursing students (n = 64) from a regional nursing school in an Australian university. Methods Survey. Results Factor analysis revealed four clearly differentiated factors, non-smoker's rights, cessation beliefs, cessation attitudes and therapeutic relationships. Significant differences were present in nurse's perceptions of smoking rights across age categories but not for other factors, no significant gender differences were noted across categories, nor were significant differences noted between levels of nursing qualifications across categories however smoking status revealed significant differences in perceptions of rights. Conclusions Student and graduate nurses are aware that they are role models and that they have an influential role in modifying patient behaviour. When it comes to assisting patients to cease tobacco use, age and smoking status of nurses influence their actions. Nursing curriculums need to emphasise the role nurses play in smoking cessation and give them the tools they need to help patients QUIT.