News

'Nurses who smoke should lead by example and kick the habit'

Nurses who smoke should lead by example and quit to help the wider public kick the habit, a leading doctor has urged.

Nurses who smoke should lead by example and quit to help the wider public kick the habit, a leading doctor has urged.

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a campaign urging hospitals to be more proactive in curbing smoking. PHE's head of digital strategy Mary Black believes healthcare staff including nurses who smoke should also be encouraged to quit.

'We need to talk about the visible impact of staff who smoke at work, in breaks, in uniform or smell of tobacco,' she said.

'How hard is it for someone really trying to kick smoking to be looked after by a nurse who is smelling of tobacco. What would that do, would it strengthen their resolve or not? I think not.'

Dr Black

Nurses who smoke should lead by example and quit to help the wider public kick the habit, a leading doctor has urged.


Nurses who smoke should be encouraged to quit says head of PHE strategy, Mary Black
Picture: Neil O’Connor

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a campaign urging hospitals to be more proactive in curbing smoking. PHE's head of digital strategy Mary Black believes healthcare staff – including nurses – who smoke should also be encouraged to quit.

'We need to talk about the visible impact of staff who smoke at work, in breaks, in uniform or smell of tobacco,' she said.

'How hard is it for someone really trying to kick smoking to be looked after by a nurse who is smelling of tobacco. What would that do, would it strengthen their resolve or not? I think not.'

Dr Black added that managers must support their staff in stopping smoking to boost the health of the workforce.

'Any chief executive who doesn't get they should be stopping, particularly young, nurses from smoking is not looking after their workforce,' she added.

'If you can't help nurses kick the habit, you don't care about your nurses. That's what I think. That's the message for chief executives and trust boards.'

Support

In line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance, PHE wants staff to ask patients if they smoke and if so, provide cessation support such as patches.

The guidance calls for intensive support for those using mental health and maternity services, while also encourages advice for hospital visitors.

There are an estimated 475,000 smoking-related hospital admissions a year, costing £3.1 billion in health and social care.

PHE wants truly smoke-free hospitals, with staff and patient confronted and offered support when if they smoke on hospital grounds.

Research from the British Thoracic Society published in December revealed only one in ten UK hospitals completely enforced their own no-smoking rules.

Ground patrol

Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, recently employed wardens to patrol the grounds, while PHE deputy chief nurse Joanne Bosanquet said Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust saw success using volunteers to approach people and offer support.

Ms Bosanquet agreed with Dr Black that stress was a leading reason given for smoking, and with the pressures on nurses widely reported, said staff not-resorting to the habit could act as a beacon for public behaviour.

Pointing to an Ipsos MORI poll that said nursing was the most respected profession in the country, Ms Bosanquet said nurses were 'role models' and called on them to use their influence.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs