The determinants of lifestyle counselling among practice nurses in Ireland

Barry Lambe, Claire Connolly, Rachel McEvoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To assess the practice of lifestyle counselling among practice nurses (PNs) by measuring the frequency, perceived effectiveness and barriers to lifestyle counselling. Methods: A survey questionnaire was sent to all 77 PNs in an Irish health service administrative area (response rate = 69%). A focus group was subsequently conducted with ten PNs from this sample. Results: 43.8% (n = 21) and 45.8% (n = 22) 'always' promote physical activity and healthy eating with patients, respectively. Conversely, 29.2% (n = 14) of respondents stated they 'rarely' or 'never' counsel patients on risky drinking. Furthermore, a large number of PNs perceived themselves to be 'minimally effective' or 'ineffective' at helping patients to address smoking and risky drinking (47.6%, n = 20 and 63.6%, n = 28, respectively). Practice nurses perceived themselves to be the most appropriate people to provide lifestyle counselling. Education and the provision of accurate information is a key strategy used with patients. Insufficient time, however, was cited as the main barrier to lifestylte counselling by 73.8% (n = 31) of PNs. Conclusion: The traditional health education approach to lifestyle counselling predominates in practice nursing. And whilst practice nurses remain positive about lifestyle counselling, they require further support to address behaviours such is smoking and risky drinking in general practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-99
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Health Promotion and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioural risk factors
  • General practice
  • Health promotion
  • Lifestyle counselling
  • Practice nurses


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