Health care professionals at all levels play a unique role in educating their patients not only about the health risks of smoking but also about effective strategies for smoking cessation. This study evaluates the smoking-related knowledge base among employees at a major tertiary care medical center.
A 16 question multiple choice survey was used to assess participants’ understanding of cancer epidemiology, hospital smoking policy, extent of smoking cessation training, and knowledge of smoking cessation methods. A total of 250 hospital employees were surveyed and analyzed in 4 groups based on level of medical training: physicians, nurses, technicians, and non-patient care personnel.
28% of nurses and 14% of medical technicians correctly identified lung cancer over breast or cervical cancer as the leading cancer killer among women. 42% of nurses and 22% of medical technicians correctly chose lung cancer over prostate cancer as the leading cancer killer among men. This was similar to the number of hospital employees without medical training who correctly answered these questions. Over 50% of non-physician patient care providers talk at least weekly with their patients about smoking and smoking cessation despite the fact that only 24% of nurses and 15% of medical technicians have formal training on the subject and both groups had limited knowledge of smoking cessation strategies. Although physicians were better able to identify lung cancer as the number one cancer killer (83%), less than half have any formal training in techniques of smoking cessation and only 54% were aware of patient support resources such as telephone help/quit lines.
This study suggests that significant education of health care providers at all levels is needed to allow them to effectively help their patients understand the risks of smoking and methods of smoking cessation.
This study will serve as a guideline for development of smoking cessation training and education among patient care providers.
Shari Meyerson, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information