One of the biggest threats to public health in China is smoking. Around 350 million Chinese people smoke in China. Smoking-related illnesses kill one million people each year in the country. By 2020, the figure is expected to double to two million.
Smoking has also become an accepted part of the culture that even 23% of physicians smoke. A new two part study notes that the smoking rate among the largely female population of nurses is very low. The study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that nurses can play a crucial role in helping smokers to quit. But in order to do so, they have to earn some key skills.
The study was conducted by an international team of investigators led by Linda Sarna, interim dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, and Stella Aguinaga Bialous, associate professor in the UC-San Francisco School of Nursing.
"Being smoke-free puts nurses in a stronger position to engage in smoking cessation interventions with patients than their physician colleagues who are more likely to smoke. But first we needed to understand how frequently nurses were trying to help patients quit," Sarna said.
In the first study, investigators surveyed more than 2,000 nurses from eight healthcare centers in Beijing and Hefei. They found that about 64% of nurses asked patients whether they smoked, about 85% advised patients who smoked to quit, and about 17% of nurses arranged for follow-up. Also, about 90% of nurses believed that they could play a crucial role in tobacco control.
"With these results, we developed a web based educational smoking cessation program to give nurses across China the necessary tools to support a smoker's efforts to quit," Sarna said.
Results from the second survey showed nurses who participated in the educational program were more likely to assist patients with a quitting plan, and recommend a smoke-free home environment. The majority of nurses felt that they should be non-smoking role models.