Report From a National Tobacco Dependence Survey of Psychiatric Nurses

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Persons with mental illness smoke proportionately more cigarettes and die earlier than the general population. Yet compared with other clinicians, psychiatric professionals have intervened slowly with smoking patients. To assess psychiatric nurses' perspectives concerning tobacco dependence interventions, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Tobacco Dependence Task Force surveyed email-accessible APNA members (N = 1,365).


This paper reports survey results and implications for psychiatric nursing.


Cross-sectional analysis of a 29-item online survey conducted in early 2008.


Most nurses asked if patients smoked but fewer advised against smoking, referred to cessation resources, or delivered intensive interventions. Nurses referred to resources if they felt motivated, knowledgeable, and/or confident in their skills and rated highly their patients' ability and/or motivation to quit smoking. Workplace characteristics were related to nurses' behaviors. Nursing curricula lack tobacco dependence content.


Findings will guide efforts to support nurses in reducing/eliminating smoking by their patients through practice, education, research, and policy initiatives.J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc, 2009; 15(3), 172-181. DOI: 10.1177/1078390309336746

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