TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2004 - To help Canadians butt out during National Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 18 to 24), the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) released new tools today that encourage nurses and other health-care professionals to promote smoking cessation with patients.
“This program aims to provide nurses with the tools to ask patients about smoking, advise them of the benefits of quitting, provide information and support, and arrange for referrals or follow-ups,” says Adeline Falk-Rafael, president of RNAO. “Nurses need to make every effort to talk to people about stopping smoking and to document their intervention. Even small successes will contribute to a reduction in smoking at the provincial and national levels.”
The Integrating Smoking Cessation into Daily Nursing Practice document is a clinical guideline based on nursing best practices determined through research. This guideline was developed by RNAO’s Nursing Best Practice Guidelines (NBPG) project and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
“Regular tobacco use is an addiction that requires support and repeated interventions,” says RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun. “We want nurses to raise the importance of cessation with smokers in a sensitive, non-judgmental manner.”
To further assist nurses in the application of the best practices and to provide other health-care professionals with access to the information, RNAO has also developed an e-learning module, funded by Health Canada. The module is free and available online.
“This hour-long Web-based course aims to help health-care professionals learn simple and effective techniques to talk to their patients about smoking cessation,” says NBPG project director Tazim Virani.
The course, she adds, also encourages health-care professionals to ask, advise and assist their patients regarding their smoking and its effects on their health. In addition to the guideline and e-learning module, RNAO funded and developed a lobbying toolkit to help nurses better understand the big-picture dynamics of the tobacco industry and a fact sheet to encourage patients to take an active role in smoking cessation.
Falk-Rafael says cessation not only benefits the smoker, but also the entire health-care system. Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of mortality. Quitting smoking can halt or even reverse many of the associated health problems, according to the U.S.’s Centre for Disease Control. However, she adds, research indicates only about half of smokers report ever having been asked about smoking or advised to quit.
Nursing best practice guidelines not only provide current, comprehensive information based on the latest evidence in clinical areas, but also give patients an understanding of the quality of care they should expect to receive.
For more information on the smoking cessation NBPG, lobbying toolkit and fact sheet, visit http://rnao.ca/bpg  or contact Josie Santos at 416-907-7957. To view the e-learning module, please visit http://elearning.rnao.ca .
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practice in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.-30-