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The Teachable Moment Captured: A Framework for Nurse-led Smoking Cessation Interventions for Parents of Hospitalized Children


Correspondence to:

Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:


This article explores the topic of smoking cessation counseling for parents in the context of pediatric hospitalization. Teachable moments, a widely used concept in the literature, uses three key concepts including perception of risk, emotional response, and self-concept to precipitate change (McBride, Health Education Research, 18 [McBride, 2003], 156–170). The interweaving of these concepts with institutional systems; clinically trained personnel; parental smoking considerations; parent presence; and external supports, or collectively the novel idea of the “capturable moment”, may allow for an increased rate of parental smoking cessation. Using these concepts, the authors constructed a hospital model for pediatric nursing efforts in parental smoking cessation. The pilot study built on this framework in February 2010 began enrolling parents of hospitalized pediatric patients into two intervention groups to motivate smoking cessation. Starting in September 2010, new electronic medical record-based systems of identifying parents who smoke were implemented in the hopes of enhancing enrollment numbers and streamlining recruitment. It is hoped that by introducing this process and framework, there will be increased national dialogue related to secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure, routine screening for SHS exposure, and nursing recognition of teachable moments.