Exploring the barriers and facilitators of healthy lifestyles_P Heidke_Redacted.pdf (1.04 MB)

Exploring the barriers and facilitators of healthy lifestyles and educational responsibilities of registered nurses

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posted on 2023-08-28, 05:38 authored by Penny HeidkePenny Heidke
Certain health risk behaviours are modifiable by the individual, such as diet, smoking, physical activity and alcohol consumption. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of Registered Nurses’ (RNs) own health risk behaviours and whether these influenced the provision of regular health education to patients. This two phase study used a sequential, mixed methods design. Phase one, involved an online survey distributed to registered nurses in a coastal regional town in Australia. Findings from phase one informed the eight semi-structured interviews obtained in phase two. When compared to the general population, the participants in this study reported a lower levels of smoking and met national guidelines for daily fruit and vegetable intake. In contrast, this group reported higher levels of alcohol consumption and lower levels of exercise. Commonly cited barriers to adhering to healthy lifestyles were shift work, long work hours and family commitments. While participants endorsed the importance of the role of the registered nurse in health education, they were not consistent in providing regular advice. Two themes emerged from the phase two interviews: role modelling and lack of priority. The central tenet is that registered nurses’ own health risk behaviours strongly influence attitudes and education provision but that improving perceived self-efficacy may be helpful in improving nurses’ delivery of healthy lifestyle education to patients at risk of non-communicable diseases. The renewed prioritisation of health promotion and prevention of non-communicable diseases nationwide presents the nursing profession with a prime opportunity to be change agents. A number of recommendations have been made in relation to curriculum, practice and policy. Future research should further explore strategies to support RNs in their health education roles and to become workplace health champions.



Central Queensland University

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Open Access

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Era Eligible

  • No


Dr Wendy Madsen ; Mrs Erika Langham

Thesis Type

  • Master's by Research Thesis