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Using motivational interviewing to improve health outcomes

02 June 2022
Volume 33 · Issue 6


Sarah Jane Palmer looks at how practice nurses can use motivational interviewing to improve their patients health

Motivational interviewing was first described by Miller in 1983, for a study examining the treatment of alcoholism (now known as alcohol use disorder). The term has widely caught on throughout healthcare systems as a way to help the patient put into practice health promotion strategies such as nutritional recommendations for diet changes or healthier behaviours such as incorporating exercise into a daily routine, by ensuring the patient realises for themselves that they have the power to make changes, they recognise the problem, recognise how to deal with the problem, and feel motivated with a plan going forward to implement the necessary changes. Simply giving a patient advice is not enough – a strategy as to how the information is taken on and how the patient thinks, feels and behaves are integral to incorporating the necessary changes required for their health. A university lecturer, Stephen Rollnick (2010), has studied the technique and specialises in the training of others to understand how to implement it. Rollnick (2010) described that simply giving advice to patients to ‘change’ is not efficacious on its own.

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