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Keywords:

  • general practice;
  • practice nurse;
  • nicotine replacement therapy

Abstract

Introduction and Aims.Practice nurses (PN) are an alternative workforce for cessation support in primary care, but their role and effectiveness is underdeveloped and underresearched. This study evaluated a model of smoking cessation intervention in Australian general practice based on PNs. Smokers were identified by their general practitioner (GP) and referred to the PN for cessation support over four counselling visits and offered free nicotine patches.

Design and Methods.Pre- and post-study using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods. Cessation outcomes were collected by patient self-report at 6 months. Semistructured interviews were conducted with PNs and GPs to provide qualitative data on the acceptability of the model.

Results.The project involved 31 PNs, 35 GPs and 498 patients from 19 general practices in Sydney. Mean age of participating patients was 46 years and 61% were female. Mean number of PN counselling visits was 3.1. At 6 month follow up the point prevalence abstinence rate was 22% and continuous abstinence rate was 16%. Participants who had attended for four or more counselling visits with the PN were significantly more likely to quit. PNs and GPs expressed enthusiasm for the PN role in smoking cessation and belief in its value and feasibility.

Discussion and Conclusions.Substantial rates of cessation were found in this uncontrolled study and the role was well accepted by PNs and GPs. The model shows promise as a means of providing cessation support in Australian primary care and further research in a randomised trial is warranted. [Zwar NA, Richmond RL, Forlonge G, Hasan I. Feasibility and effectiveness of nurse-delivered smoking cessation counselling combined with nicotine replacement in Australian general practice. Drug Alcohol Rev 2010;30:583–588]