Barriers and facilitators to lifestyle risk communication by Australian general practice nurses

Sharon James, Elizabeth Halcomb, Jane Desborough, Susan McInnes

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Lifestyle risk factors are antecedents to many chronic conditions and are largely modifiable. Health professional support is often sought to reduce lifestyle risk. The ongoing relationship general practice nurses typically have with patients situates them ideally to provide this support. This paper explores the barriers and facilitators to lifestyle risk communication by registered nurses (RNs) in Australian general practice. Fifteen general practice RNs from south-eastern Australia participated in semistructured interviews. Verbatim transcriptions of the audio-recorded interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Six themes emerged in terms of perceived barriers and facilitators: educational preparation and confidence; organisational and funding arrangements; lifestyle risk prioritisation; organisational support; autonomous roles; and supporting patients' needs. Although communication about lifestyle risk factors is within the general practice nurses' scope of practice, concerted efforts fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, the prioritisation of time, funding and educational opportunities would better support this role, at the same time optimising chronic disease management and patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • communication
  • general practice
  • health behaviour
  • lifestyle
  • nursing
  • primary care

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