Smoking cessation education and training in UK nursing schools: A national survey

Becky Richards, Ann McNeill, Emma Croghan, Jennifer Percival, Deborah Ritchie, Andy McEwen


Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable, premature death in the UK. Very Brief Advice (VBA) from Health Care Professionals (HCP) can trigger quit attempts, and behavioural support from trained practitioners can assist with these quit attempts. The purpose of the current study was to assess the self-reported content of smoking cessation education, and extent of training, in pre-registration nursing schools in the UK. Seventy-one UK nursing schools were invited to complete a web-based survey that measured smoking cessation content and training on nursing curricula. Thirty-two (45%) nursing schools responded to the survey. Almost all schools (91%) reported including the harmful effects of tobacco use on their curriculum, however only around half of schools reported teaching nicotine addiction and its treatment. Just under two-thirds of schools (66%) reported providing training to deliver brief interventions to smokers. Over a third of schools (38%) reported spending under three hours teaching smoking cessation throughout the entire programme. Only 6% of schools reported examining students on what they had been taught. Lack of knowledge amongst staff and uncertainty about who should deliver the teaching was reported as barriers to teaching. Gaps in UK nursing curricula, including training in smoking cessation interventions and in examining what has been taught, are likely contributing to the less than optimum smoking cessation interventions delivered by UK nurses in practice.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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