Educating Nursing Students on Issues Related to Smoking during Pregnancy to Improve Regional Intervention Efforts

Beth A. Bailey, Lana McGrady, Judy G. McCook, Audry Greenwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To implement and evaluate training session related to smoking during pregnancy for baccalaureate nursing students in rural Southern Appalachia. Design: Nursing students attended training on dangers and intervention techniques related to smoking during pregnancy. Sample: Third year students beginning clinical rotations in obstetrics. Methods: One and one half hour training including pre‐ and post tests. Implementation Strategies: Four months later, a follow‐up survey assessed gains in knowledge, skill, comfort, and willingness to address smoking during pregnancy. Results: During seven semesters, 659 nursing students were trained. Substantial gains in knowledge of issues related to smoking during pregnancy were seen from pre‐ to post testing, and knowledge was retained at 4‐month follow‐up. The percentage of students who felt they lacked skills to intervene with pregnant smokers dropped from 39% at pretest to 6% at same day post test. In addition, the percentage who reported they would be uncomfortable talking with pregnant women about smoking dropped from 10% to 1%; the percentage who indicated they would always make time to address smoking with pregnant women increased from 54% to 87%. While most students did address smoking with multiple pregnant patients during clinicals, and more than half felt the patients benefited from their actions, only 58% were confident in their intervention skills at 4‐month follow‐up. Finally, 83% felt the training had been beneficial, and more than 90% committed to addressing smoking with pregnant patients once they graduated. Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice: Rates of smoking during pregnancy in the rural South are twice as great as national averages and contribute to poor birth and long‐term outcomes for affected women and children. Efforts to intervene during prenatal care with pregnant women have been hampered by lack of knowledge, skill, comfort, and commitment from prenatal providers and their nursing staff. Regional community providers and staff have been reluctant to participate in available trainings, and even those who do seldom exhibit attitude and practice change long term. Therefore, efforts to educate healthcare professionals on the dangers of smoking during pregnancy and to provide necessary skills for intervention efforts may need to occur before students enter practice, and ongoing education may be needed to promote skills and confidence long term. In the rural South, where smoking rates are high and provider efforts to address pregnancy smoking are inconsistent, educating future nurses could have substantial impact on rates of smoking during pregnancy and birth outcomes into the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S77-S78
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • nursing student training
  • pregnancy intervention
  • smoking during pregnancy


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