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Keywords:

  • Alcohol Abuse;
  • Hazardous Alcohol Intake;
  • Brief Interventions;
  • Substance Abuse;
  • Systematic Review;
  • Nurses

Aim

The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of nurse-conducted brief interventions in reducing alcohol consumption, by looking at with treatment as usual compared with other treatments and general physician-delivered brief interventions within the literature.

Background

Globally, the consumption of alcohol is at a worrying level and has significant effects on health when consumed to excess. Numerous studies have reported that brief intervention is effective in reducing excessive drinking. However, evidence on the efficacy of such interventions by nurses is still inconclusive.

Methods

We included randomized controlled trials of brief interventions in which nurses were primarily involved as therapists, and were designed to achieve a reduction in alcohol consumption and related problems. We used online searches to locate randomized controlled trials in this area published from 1995 till 2012.

Findings

Eleven trials were found meeting inclusion criteria, comparing nurse-conducted brief interventions with a control group or with other treatments. Five trials reported a statistically significant reduction in alcohol consumption in the intervention group with 6–12-month follow-up period and two trials concluded that brief interventions delivered by nurses was as efficacious as by physicians.

Implications for Nursing Policy

The findings of the review have important policy implications for the preparation of nurses as therapists for brief interventions to reduce excessive drinking in a broad range of settings such as primary healthcare and hospital settings. The adoption of this intervention into contemporary nursing practice should be considered by the International Council of Nurses and nurses around the world as, according to the literature, it provides an evidence base for the independent functioning of nurses within the realms of nursing profession and addiction medicine.

Conclusion

The results of the review suggest that nurse-conducted brief interventions are an effective strategy for reducing alcohol consumption. We advocate more rigorous randomized controlled trials to underpin its efficacy in both research and real life scenario.