Keywords: smoking behavior, education, primary care
Even though a variety of effective counseling methods and medical interventions exist, a small percentage of smokers in Greece receive evidence-based advice on smoking cessation by their general practitioner (GP). In addition to there being a lack of time, there is also a lack of education in the management of smoking.
An innovative educational initiative was developed by the educational committee of HIPPOCRATES - Association of General Practice / Family Medicine of Greece, aiming to raise awareness, educate and motivate GPs and other primary healthcare professionals towards the effective management of smoking. The course was based on structure, experience and expertise of Leonardo EURACT courses. Eight modules, one hour each were prepared, covering topics on smoking addiction recognition and severity assessment, counseling and pharmaceutical intervention strategies, harm reduction theory, health promotion and prevention techniques, collaboration and co-management with other health care professionals. A variety of educational techniques including short presentations, brainstorming, case-study analysis, small group discussion, role-play and audio-visual material constitute the teaching methods. Six experienced facilitators make-up the course faculty.
105 GPs specialists and trainees, nurses, social workers and psychologists attended the 5 courses during 2022-2023 in different regions of Greece. The newly implemented course was evaluated positively and rated as “very useful”. The participant’s qualitative evaluation highlighted the organizational excellence, the educational environment, the high level of facilitation, the participatory, interactive and experiential character of the courses and the wide coverage of the topic. Also, participants were satisfied with the up-to-date course content and training methods and declared highly motivated to engage instantly in the management of smoking.
Our results suggest that the implementation of such an educational course is well-suited for transferring skills, knowledge and attitudes in the management of smoking. It is also time-efficient and suitable for the implementation in primary care training environments.
Points for discussion: