ATTITUDES OF SWEDISH GENERAL PRACTITIONERS AND NURSES TO WORKING WITH LIFESTYLE CHANGE, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION


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Abstract

AimsTo explore the attitudes of Swedish general practitioners (GPs) and nurses to secondary alcohol prevention (early identification of, and intervention for, alcohol-related problems) and compare it to their attitudes to other important lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, stress, exercise, and overweight.MethodsAn adjusted version of The WHO Collaborative Study Questionnaire for General Practitioners was posted to all GPs and nurses in the County of Skaraborg, Sweden; 68 GPs and 193 nurses responded.ResultsThe importance of drinking alcohol moderately, counselling skills on reducing alcohol consumption and perceived current effectiveness in helping patients change lifestyle behaviours ranked lower than working with all the other lifestyle behaviours. The nurses rated their potential effectiveness in helping patients change lifestyle higher than that of GPs for all the lifestyle behaviours. Nurses receiving more alcohol-related education had more positive attitudes than nurses with less education. For alcohol, the GPs assessed their role adequacy, role legitimacy and motivation higher than that of the nurses. The main obstacles for the GPs to carry out alcohol intervention were lack of training in counselling for reducing alcohol consumption, time constraints, and the fact that the doctors did not know how to identify problem drinkers who have no obvious symptoms of excess consumption.ConclusionGPs and the nurses estimated their alcohol-related competence as lower than working with many other health-related lifestyles. These results can be explained by lack of practical skills, lack of training in suitable intervention techniques, and unsupportive working environments. All these elements must be considered when planning secondary alcohol prevention programs in primary health care.

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