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Public health: PART 3 Behaviour change

24 January 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 2


Emma Senior, Senior Lecturer/Programme Lead, Adult Nursing (, Lynn Craig, Subject Lead, Adult Nursing, and Senior Lecturer, and Michelle Mitchel, Graduate Teacher, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, discuss the models used to help patients change health-related behaviours

This article is the third in a series exploring the role of the nurse and other health professionals within public health and the Making Every Contact Count (MECC) approach (Craig and Senior, 2018; Senior and Craig, 2019). This article will explore use of behaviour change models in MECC.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2014) states that the accumulation of small changes in individual lifestyle behaviours will create significant improvements in the health of the population. The NHS response—MECC—recognises that nurses and other health professionals have numerous opportunistic encounters with patients and their families to address lifestyle behaviours and support behaviour change (Lawrence et al, 2016).

Supporting behaviour change is not easy and requires thought, care and a deep understanding of what motivates people. If nurses understand the wide-ranging social and economic pressures that patients act under, they will be in a better position to support them to change (Kelly and Barker, 2016). MECC maximises the opportunity within routine health and care interactions for a brief discussion on health or wellbeing factors to take place (NICE, 2014).

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