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Keywords:

  • nurse/nursing;
  • public health;
  • research report;
  • smoking;
  • smoking cessation

berkelmans a., burton d., page k. & worrall-carter l. (2011) Registered Nurses’ smoking behaviours and their attitudes to personal cessation. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(7), 1580–1590.

Abstract

Aim.  The aim of the study was to assess smoking behaviour of nurses including; (1) smoking prevalence and nicotine dependence; (2) demographic characteristics according to smoking status and (3) attitudes to cessation amongst current smokers.

Background.  Smoking amongst nurses is a barrier to the delivery of patient smoking cessation interventions. Studies on the smoking behaviour of nurses have lagged behind government surveys on smoking prevalence in the general population.

Method.  A descriptive, comparative study using a self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 3200 nurses over July and August of 2007 across one major metropolitan health service network in Victoria, Australia.

Results.  The questionnaire was completed by 1029 nurses, a response rate of 32%. Eleven per cent of nurses (= 113) were current smokers. Nurses who smoked were more likely to be divorced/separated and report smoking amongst family and friends. Smoking was more common amongst nurses who work in psychiatry and the emergency departments. Amongst the nurses who smoked, 45% desired to stop smoking and while 89% had experienced previous quit attempts, only half had ever received help or advice about smoking cessation. The most common factors preventing smoking cessation included fear of withdrawal symptoms including stress, weight gain and anxiety.

Conclusion.  Smoking rates amongst nurses in this sample have declined below smoking rates amongst the general population. Considering the low uptake of smoking cessation support reported in this study, targeted strategies must be developed sensitive to the potential intrapersonal-professional struggle related to personal smoking which is at odds with nurses’ health promotion role.