Moments to Motivate


Many nurses have unrealistic expectations when addressing smoking cessation with their patients. They feel frustrated when patients do not just ‘follow their advice’ which soon leads to fewer smoking cessation intervention attempts.

RNAO’s Best Practice Guideline Integrating Smoking Cessation into Daily Nursing Practice outlines Prochaska and Di Clemente’s Model of the Stages of Change in Appendix E. By using this model, achievement is measured by ‘planting a seed and watering it’ rather than expecting ‘the harvest’ at every intervention. Even for a patient in the Pre-contemplation Stage of Change, success could be measured just by having a conversation regarding smoking.

When that discussion is done sensitively with open ended questions then the patient has contemplated, even for a few moments, what it would be like to be a non-smoker. The next time the patient sees another health care provider more discussion will cultivate the notion of stopping smoking, moving the patient closer to planning a stop date.

If the patient happens to have been thinking about stopping smoking then the time is ripe to have more a specific conversation as to when the attempt will be and resources available to make it easiest for them.

When every nurse capitalizes on ‘moments to motivate’ as they provide care to their patents each day soon this most preventable health risk behaviour will be greatly reduced and nurses will know they have made a great difference.