Training and Experience of Public Health Nurses in Using Behavior Change Counseling

Katherine A. Pfister-Minogue, Catherine Salveson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness, feasibility, and usefulness of a behavior change counseling (BCC) training program for public health nurses to facilitate behavior change in patients.Design and Sample: This was a quasi-experimental feasibility study. Twelve rural public health nurses participated in the study.Measures: Nurses participated in a 1-day BCC training workshop and 2 follow-up telephone calls within 8 weeks. Their pre- and posttraining BCC skills were evaluated based on audio-taped interactions using the Behavior Change Counseling Index (BECCI). Additionally, interviews were conducted with the nurses to understand their experience with the training in the use of BCC in their practice.Results: Descriptive statistics demonstrated increased BECCI scores after training. Nurses described the training workshop as valuable. Training in BCC helped nurses realize and improve their communication skills to facilitate patients' behavior changes. Nurses believed that additional training using BCC techniques in typical patient situations would help them improve their skill and confidence in using this method.Conclusion: Nurses found BCC to be a useful tool to facilitate patients' behavioral changes. Although training resulted in increased skill in using BCC, nurses felt that they needed additional training to master BCC skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-551
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior change counseling (BCC)
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Training nurses in behavior change counseling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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