Lifestyle risk factor communication by nurses in general practice: Understanding the interactional elements

Sharon James, Susan McInnes, Elizabeth Halcomb, Jane Desborough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: This paper seeks to explore general practice nurses' perceptions of interactional factors supporting communication with patients about lifestyle risk. Design: Qualitative descriptive study embedded in a concurrent mixed methods design. Methods: Fifteen Australian general practice nurses were interviewed following video-recorded chronic disease management consultations between August 2017 - March 2018. Results: The theme of ‘Interactional Factors' comprised of the subthemes ‘Relational factors' and ‘Patient factors'. Relational factors referred to communication techniques and methods supporting temporal continuity with patients about lifestyle risk. Patient factors included consumers' motivation, willingness, and readiness to prioritize lifestyle changes. Lack of awareness of the nurses' role was perceived to have an impact on initiation of lifestyle risk conversations. Conclusion: Strategies optimizing continuity of nursing care enhance the capacity for lifestyle risk reduction conversations with patients. Ongoing training in patient-centred communication and increasing patients' awareness of general practice nurses' roles would also better support these discussions. Impact: This research identifies ways the general practice nurses' role in supporting lifestyle risk reduction can be improved. Optimizing the general practice nurses' role in lifestyle risk communication can enhance the behaviour change and chronic disease management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-242
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • counselling
  • general practice
  • interactions
  • lifestyle
  • nursing
  • patient relations
  • primary care
  • qualitative descriptive
  • thematic analysis

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