Factors influencing whether nurses talk to somatic patients about their alcohol consumption

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AIM - Many Danes drink so much that it is detrimental to their health. As they are at risk of suffering diseases which can lead to hospitalisation on somatic wards, hospitals are ideal arenas for identifying individuals whose alcohol consumption is excessive. However, literature points out that this identification rarely takes place in hospitals, and literature further suggests that the staff experience barriers to talking about alcohol use with their patients. The primary aim of this study is to identify potential factors that influence whether or not nurses talk to patients about their alcohol consumption on somatic wards. Secondarily, we wish to examine whether a screening project may affect the nurses' readiness to talk about alcohol use with their patients. METHODS - A Glaserian Grounded Theory Method was used to collect and analyse data in this qualitative study. Semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted with seven nurses from somatic departments at two Danish hospitals. All seven nurses were already taking part in an alcohol screening project. RESULTS - In the analysis of the interview material, four categories emerged: The Nurse, The Patient, The Ward and The Relay Study. CONCLUSION - We identified a series of barriers and promoting factors for nurses to talk about alcohol use with patients in a hospital setting. The barriers and promoting factors emerged within four categories: The Nurse, The Patient, The Ward, and The Relay Study. The most important barrier to talking to patients about alcohol seemed to be factors within the nurses themselves, in particular personal experiences, lack of knowledge and lack of confidence. We found, however, that by participating in a screening project the nurses seemed to overcome some of these barriers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNordisk Alkohol- & Narkotikatidskrift / Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)415–436
Publication statusPublished - 29. Sept 2016


  • Grounded Theory
  • alcohol
  • barriers
  • brief intervention
  • hospital
  • nurses
  • promoting factors
  • qualitative study
  • screening


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