Background: Tobacco use is the primary preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, resulting in enormous health care expenditures. The burden of smoking is higher among disadvantaged populations, such as individuals with mental illness. As the largest group of health care providers, nurses must assume a leading role in tobacco control efforts to decrease the deleterious impact on health outcomes. Method: Investigators used a randomized control group design to assess the effectiveness of a theory-based tobacco education program on the perceived competence and intrinsic motivation of prelicensure BSN students (N = 134) to engage in cessation interventions with patients with mental illness. Results: Students completing the program reported a significant increase in perceived competence, compared with their peers who received standard instruction only. Intrinsic motivation did not increase significantly for either group. Conclusion: Findings suggest that the program improves students’ perceived competence, but further research is needed to determine its effect on motivation and its usefulness in other health care contexts.
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