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Student nurses should quit smoking as part of training

  • 12 Comments

Student nurses who smoke should be encouraged to quite as part of their training, say researchers.

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They found nursing students were twice as likely to smoke as the general public and, as a result, say smoking cessation should be incorporated into nurse training courses.

The Italian survey of 800 student nurses, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, found 44 per cent were current smokers. A further 12 per cent said they were former smokers.

Additionally the results suggested 37 per cent smoked up to five cigarettes a day and 4 per cent smoked more than 20.

Study author Anna Maria Tortorano, a professor at Milan University’s department of public health, said: “Smoking prevention is an important issue and healthcare professionals, especially physicians and nurses, can play a major role in helping people to understand the consequences that smoking can have on their health and their lives.

She added: “However when health professionals smoke it makes it more difficult for them to encourage patients to stop.

“We believe that smoking cessation programmes should be incorporated into nursing studies as high levels of smoking among healthcare professionals undermine the credibility of non-smoking campaigns aimed at the general public,” said professor Tortorana.

  • 12 Comments

Readers' comments (12)

  • I am a student nurse who smokes heavily. I have been meaning to join a stop-smoking clinic group for a year now but haven't found the time and my irregular timetable would not allow me to attend sessions every week. If there was a clinic at lunch times at university that would be incredibly helpful. On the other hand - if you don't want nurses who smoke don't receuit them in the first place! Smoking is not illegal (yet?) and so we still have a personal choice which we should not be disciminated against. Maybe the students who don't smoke can go to 'effective and interesting ways of lecturing on smokers on stuff they haven't heard 100000000000000000000000000 times already' - food for thought!

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  • So an Italian study found that nursing students were twice as likely to smoke as the general public? Where? Italy or the UK?
    And what about the qualified nurses who smoke? And the doctors?
    People make their own decisions, regardless of how unhealthy/distateful or otherwise.

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  • If student Nurses are being encourage to stop smoking, then surely Registered Nurses and HCA's should be as well?
    I am a non-smoking student Nurse but have noticed on placements that students tend to follow by example; if on the ward a good umber of staff smoke and regularly nip 'outside' then the student smokers will also go, but if the ward doesn't have smokers or people can't nip 'out' as easily the students will not bother with a cigarette.
    Also this Italian research can't be applied to students in the U.K, as Italy has a much higher rate of smoking than the UK in general so it is flawed evidence.
    On a final note, the students who do smoke probably find the stress of the course, assignments, family life etc make it very difficult to quit!

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  • Nurse training is strerssful enough without the additional stress of giving up smoking. If students want to quit then by all means let Occupational health help
    DEbbie, Nottingham

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  • Student nurses are still regular people too, just because of a career choice should not mean having to cease smoking. Does this mean that staff nurses/HCA's and other healthcare professionals should quit too? Yes, collectively they have more information than most of the general public about the dangers of smoking, however they also have the right to choose a suitable time in their lives to quit if they wish to do so. Making it obligatory will only mean the possibility of losing a good nurse because of the pressure to quit their habit for the cause of their profession. Is it really necessary?

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  • I am a student nurse, no-smoker and personally the training is very stressful for me. I have had given up so many things for this course; my social-life, freedom, fulltime job. You name it and was thinking of starting to smoke just to ease the stress, because those students who smoke cope well and now you are telling us that Italian researcher found out student nurses smoke more I would say is the course that made them smoke. Well in terms of being health professionals I see your point, on the other hand those students have point too and what happen to personal chioce, I MEAN WE GIVEN UP A LOT FOR THIS LET THEM
    ENJOY SMOKING.

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  • I have just started training as a student nurse. I used to smoke when i was a teenager and gave up when i had my children. I agree that all healthcare professionals should be non smoking as it contradicts everything you strive to incorporate into a persons rehabilitation whatever the situation. Effectively you shouldn't preach what you can't practice yourself.

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  • NHS Nursing Student

    What about the nurses who don't smoke and will have to undergoe this as "part of their training". Will they get the module credit from elsewhere? hahah this is the biggest load I've ever seen!

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  • How silly. We are not children. We are adults capable of making our own choices. We have the right to make a bad decision.
    Should student nurses be given extra lessons on sensible drinking and being within a healthy weight range? No, because we already know these things. We can make our own decisions thank you!

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  • To the person who stated that we shouldn't preach what we cant practice - in my opinion we shouldn't preach at all!!! We have a responsibility to ensure everyone we care for is aware and has full understanding of the harms their lifestyle choice may cause them, and to ensure that support to change harmfull habits is in place should they want it. This is a different attitude than just telling a person what to do, which is my experience of the majority of health professionals regarding the smoking issue. As a smoker myself, I have encountered practice nurses and GPs who consider that they are doing my job by simply telling me to stop smoking, usually in a particulary pioused and patronising way. Being a stubbon individual, this is more likely to make me continue smoking than quit as I will not tolerate being told what to do regarding my personal choices!!

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