How Nurses Can Help Patients Quit Smoking

How Nurses Can Help Patients Quit Smoking

Help your patients quit by providing online resources for them.

By Christine Contillo, RN, BSN
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We’re all ready to listen when the experts speak, and I read recently that keeping hypertension under control is one of the fundamental ways of preventing heart attack and stroke. Cigarette smoking impacts high blood pressure, and another recent study showed that while discharge instructions for cardiac patients may indeed include advice to stop smoking, it often comes in the form of written instructions handed out on the way to the parking lot or during parting verbal conversations as patients leave the hospital with plenty of other behavioral changes on their minds. The study showed that they often don’t get the necessary follow-up or support to really kick a nicotine addiction.

If you’d like to improve the chances of success for your patients consider changing the discharge protocol to make it meaningful. Start by investigating some online guides. You can find a “Guide to Quitting Smoking” through a search on www.cancer.org. A similar site, www.cancer.gov, contains a “Prevention and Cessation of Cigarette Smoking” with information sections for both patients and healthcare professionals, updated 5/07 listed under “cancer topics.” On www.smokefree.gov you can find local numbers for phone support and recruiting for trials on topics ranging from success of phone counseling to methods in pediatric practices of reducing second hand smoke.

If it’s online support you’d like to offer to your patients, check www.whyquit.com. This site has message boards to investigate where readers can get answers to the questions it poses. It’s not a government-sponsored site and proposes the cold turkey route when medication may be preferable. However, it may have just enough in the form of personal stories to convince recalcitrant clients to reconsider their nicotine addiction.

This column wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t take the opportunity to recommend a visit to www.nightingalesnurses.org, the site for information about Ruth Malone and her public health work. Ruth and her band of committed nurses have taken on the tobacco industry, attending shareholder meetings in their trademark white lab coats, to let the CEOs and shareholders know exactly how addicted patients feel about their marketing practices. Her supporters increase every year.

Christine Contillo RN, BSN, has worked as a nurse since 1979, and has written extensively for various nursing publications as well as the New York Times.

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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