• content analysis;
  • health promotion practice;
  • interviews;
  • motivational interviewing;
  • primary healthcare nurses

Aim.  The aim of the study was to describe primary healthcare nurses’ experiences with motivational interviewing as a method for health promotion practice.

Background.  A person’s lifestyle has a major effect on his or her health. Motivational interviewing is one way of working with lifestyle changes in health promotion practice. The basic plan of motivational interviewing is to help people understand their lifestyle problems and make positive lifestyle changes. Motivational interviewing has been proven to be more effective than conventional methods in increasing patient motivation.

Design.  This study has a descriptive design and uses a qualitative method.

Methods.  Twenty nurses who worked in primary health care and actively used motivational interviewing in their work were interviewed. Qualitative content analysis was used to process the data.

Results.  The primary healthcare nurses’ experiences with motivational interviewing as a method of health promotion practice demonstrate that motivational interviewing is a demanding, enriching and useful method that promotes awareness and guidance in the care relationship. The results also show that motivational interviewing is a valuable tool for primary healthcare nurses’ health promotion practice.

Conclusion.  This study shows that motivational interviewing places several different demands on nurses who use this method. Those who work with motivational interviewing must make an effort to incorporate this new method to avoid falling back into the former practice of simply giving advice. Maintaining an open mind while implementing motivational interviewing in real healthcare settings is crucial for nurses to increase this method’s effectiveness.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The nurses in the study had a positive experience with motivational interviewing, which can contribute to the increased use, adaption and development of motivational interviewing among primary healthcare professionals. Increased motivational interviewing knowledge and skills would also contribute to promotion of health lifestyle practices.