"Implementation of a Smoking Cessation Education Program in the Emergency Department"

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and the leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, cancers, and lung disease. Due to these negative health effects and socioeconomic disparities among the smoking population, a disproportionate number of smokers utilize the emergency department. Registered nurses in the emergency department represent an underutilized workforce in the health care system to increase smoking cessation education and referral for at-risk patients. This project used a pre- and post-intervention design with 52 registered nurses working in a local emergency department. An educational module regarding smoking cessation counseling instructed nurses in the protocol for tobacco screening and referral. This included identification of patients reporting tobacco use; categorization of level of intervention needed; and education regarding specific resources available. A self-reported survey was administered to evaluate intervention outcomes. The results showed that the number of nurses who screened for tobacco use most of the time after the intervention remained the same as before the intervention. However, the number of nurses who advised, assisted, and referred services for patients screening positive for tobacco use increased significantly. Through use of appropriate training, nurses can augment their ability to implement tobacco screening and smoking cessation education in at-risk patients. The project was presented at the 44th Biennial Convention of Sigma Thera Tau International in 2017.