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New nurse campaign group to help butt out cigs

New nurse campaign group to help butt out cigarettes

Nurses around New Zealand have joined forces to create a smokefree advocacy group in response to findings from a new report into nurses and smoking.

The ASH-KAN (Assessment of Smoking History, Knowledge and Attitudes of Nurses in New Zealand) Report released today by ASH NZ shows that 90 per cent of nurses believe it is part of their responsibility to advise clients to stop smoking, but less than half have the specialised training they need to help effectively.

Grace Wong, a nurse and the first author of the report said: “Nurses are the front-line of our healthcare system and our research has shown that 90 percent of them would do even more to help their patients to stop smoking if they could. The new group has been set up to help make this happen and realise the huge untapped potential of this vital workforce”

Research indicates that nurses who help patients stop smoking can really increase quitting success rates in both hospitals and non-hospital settings.

She says systems need to be put in place to educate nurses on how to help patients quit smoking, and to increase support services for nurses who smoke and want to quit.

“There are 600,000 smokers in New Zealand. At least 50 percent of them will die early due to smoking related illnesses. There is one nurse for every fourteen smokers in New Zealand. Nurses have given us the clear message that we should be equipping them with the skills to cut the number of deaths by offering brief advice and support to their patients,” says Ms Wong.

Mark Jones, Chief Advisor of Nursing at the Ministry of Health says that it is vital to encourage nurses to promote smokefree lifestyles and that the new report will help to address knowledge gaps that exist in the workforce

Mr Jones commented: “The report presents a positive picture of an enthusiastic committed workforce, eager to support clients and for more education and time to deliver smoking cessation interventions. However, few nurses reported receiving education about smoking cessation interventions in their initial or postgraduate study. This is of concern because providers of nurse education have a major impact on the attitudes and expectations of nurses and their practice.”

AUT University’s Joint Head of the School of Nursing Dr Anita Bamford-Wade concurs.

“Smoking cessation training must be an integral part of the nurse training curricula in every institute. Basic training would equip graduate nurses with some knowledge on tobacco dependence and smoking cessation, how to provide brief advice, and what smoking cessation services are available to people who want help in quitting,” she says.

ASH NZ was set up by concerned health professionals in 1982. ASH works to increase awareness of tobacco and the industry that produces the product, advocate for policies that help people quit smoking, and to improve the health of all New Zealanders by reducing tobacco use.

An entire copy of the report can be downloaded from www.ash.org.nz.To find more about the nurses’ advocacy group, or to join email nurses@ash.org.nz


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