Monday, February 18, 2013

The Function Of The Nurse In Smokingcessation Programs

Freedom from Smoking, a smoking-cessation program from the American Lung Association, outlines seven educational modules designed to help people kick the nicotine habit. The organization emphasizes the importance of a well-rounded approach that promotes understanding of nicotine addiction as well as guidelines for a smoke-free lifestyle. A registered nurse (RN) has the perfect background to educate, coach, guide and support patients who are trying to quit smoking.

Nursing Expertise

The nursing process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation provides a solid framework to develop individualized quit plans that really work. Tobacco Free Nurses is a grassroots movement that provides nurses with the specific information and tools needed for smoking-cessation efforts.


Nurses play a key role in formal smoking-cessation programs offered by hospitals, health systems, insurance companies and HMOs. A nurse may lead a smoking-cessation class with group participation, or she may meet with a patient individually. Other nurses provide telephone counseling and education to help people quit smoking.


All nursing programs in the United States include theoretical content and clinical practice in the principles of adult education. Nurses have extensive expertise in assessing the knowledge base and learning needs of patients. A nurse in a smoking-cessation program will provide his patient with tailored information about the physical and psychosocial aspects of his smoking habit. He can help him identify triggers that lead to nicotine craving, giving him more insight into the issue.


Nurses are a natural fit for smoking-cessation programs because they are well-versed in assessing patients to identify recovery symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. The RN can also monitor any medications prescribed to help the person quit smoking and watch for side effects of those drugs. For example, the nurse may establish a nursing diagnosis of "anxiety secondary to nicotine withdrawal" and collaborate with her patient to develop effective strategies to reduce that anxiety.


By the time an RN specializes in smoking cessation, she typically has years of experience caring for adults with other health issues. He has honed his skills as a coach and learned to work hand-in-hand with patients and families to achieve a common goal. These coaching skills are key to successful quit plans.


As healthcare costs steadily climb and consumers learn the value of health promotion and illness prevention services, nurses have contributed greatly to programs such as smoking cessation. Once the patient has stopped smoking, his nurse may encourage him to pursue other classes to maintain a healthy lifestyle through dietary modification and physical activity. (See Reference 1)

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