Personal experiences with smoking among nursing students: A pilot focus group study (pp. 147-155)
Authors: Mary C Gebhardt, Lawrence Bryant, Karis Casseus, Matthew Underwood, Julie M Cessna, and Shanta R Dube
Abstract: Background: Healthcare providers, such as nurses, are in a position to help smokers quit. While, current nursing curriculum includes health effects of smoking, it is helpful to understand nursing students' knowledge of the quit process. Objectives: A pilot focus group study was conducted among former and never smoking nursing students with the purpose to better understand their knowledge about smoking behaviors and quitting. Methods: Using a non-experimental mixed methods design, a pilot study among a convenience sample of 161 undergraduate nursing students enrolled in a southeastern university was conducted. Smoking status among nursing students was assessed using a survey which included questions about current smoking; students were also asked if they would be willing to participate in a focus group. Results: The present findings are based on themes identified from transcribed pilot focus group data among former smokers (n=5) and never smokers (n=7). Among former smokers, there was a better understanding of the quit process compared to never smokers. Three themes were identified among former smokers: motivators to quit (credibility with patients), barriers to quit (triggers), and strategies used to quit smoking (setting a quit date). Conclusions: Insights that emerged from this pilot study indicate that innovative strategies are needed to enhance nursing school curriculum to help nursing students have a better understanding of nicotine addiction. Additionally, focus group findings indicate that among former smoking nursing students, their own experience with quitting may guide practice and address gaps in nursing curriculum related to helping patients quit.