Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief
Should patients and the public expect nurses to be good role models for healthy behaviours? Apparently not - according to nurses. This surprising finding comes from a UK study by Kelly et al. (2016) titled: 'Should nurses be role models for healthy lifestyles? Results from a modified Delphi study' and published in JAN which aimed: 'To explore the expectation that nurses should be role models for healthy behaviours'. The study involved: 'practising nurses, nursing students, service users, policy makers, workforce development leads and stakeholders working in nurse education' in telephone interviews and a questionnaire. I have to declare that I was one of the respondents.
The authors concluded: 'This study has shown attitudes towards role modelling healthy behaviours different from the views expressed in nursing literature. Behaviour change was thought much more complex than simple imitation; contesting the assumption that role modelling can effect behaviour change. The ‘ideal’ role model proffered by stakeholders was someone who had struggled with unhealthy behaviours but eventually successfully changed the behaviour. Apart from the service user group, stakeholders felt that the healthy role model conceptualized in policy and professional guidance as best placed to encourage behaviour change was unhelpful and unrealistic'.
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KELLY M., WILLS J., JESTER R. & SPELLER V. (2016) Should nurses be role models for healthy lifestyles? Results from a modified Delphi study. Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.13173