This paper reports a study exploring nurses’ provision of opportunistic health education on smoking for hospital patients. Smoking cessation guidelines recommend assessment of patients’ smoking habits and provision of smoking cessation advice when possible, and highlight the importance of the role of nurses in health promotion and health education. In the past, nurses have been criticized for lack of knowledge, skills and confidence in relation to health education and the perception that it is additional to, rather than integrated with, nursing care. A qualitative case study design was selected to explore the health education practice of 12 nurses working in acute wards in three general hospitals in Scotland. Data were collected in 2000 through non-participant observation, semi-structured interviews and the use of a radio-microphone to record nurse–patient interactions. The data analysis was guided by four key elements of health education practice: ‘the teachable moment’, ‘readiness to learn’, ‘the provision of health information’ and ‘oral communication’.
- health education