• Should nurses be role models for healthy lifestyles? Results from a modified Delphi study

      Kelly, Muireann; Wills, Jane; Jester, Rebecca; Speller, Viv; School of Health and Social Care; London South Bank University; UK; School of Health and Social Care; London South Bank University; UK; School of Health and Social Care; London South Bank University; UK; Health Development Consulting Ltd; Waterlooville Hampshire UK (John Wiley and Sons, 2016-10-17)
      Aim To explore the expectation that nurses should be role models for healthy behaviours. Background Nurses are expected to be role models for healthy behaviours. Whether this is a realistic and acceptable expectation has not been explored. Design Modified Policy Delphi study with two rounds of data collection. Method Purposive sampling was used to explore areas of agreement and disagreement among six stakeholder groups who influence nursing roles: practising nurses, nursing students, service users, policy makers, workforce development leads and stakeholders working in nurse education. Two rounds of a modified Policy Delphi study were conducted between February - June 2015. The first round used telephone interviews for an open exploration of opinions. The second round used attitude statements to explore convergence and divergence of opinions across stakeholder groups. Responses were analysed thematically. Results Policy and professional discourse that asserts that nurses should be healthy role models was seen as unrealistic and unhelpful. Contrary to the view that nurses should epitomize and demonstrate healthy behaviours to encourage patients and to be credible in advice, stakeholders agreed that it was more important to be seen as ‘human’ and understand the challenges of health behaviour change. Student and practising nurses did not see role modelling healthy behaviours as a reasonable professional expectation. Conclusions The findings challenge the assumptions underpinning the argument that nurses be healthy role models. Further research is needed to understand the views of frontline nurses and to further explore avenues by which health services staff health can be improved.