Addressing Environmental Smoke Exposure During Pediatric Hospitalization: Attitudes and Practices of Pediatric Nurses Versus Respiratory Therapists

Brian S. Williams, Stevens S. Smith, Jyothi N. Marbin, Maria Z. Huang, Cambria L. Garell, Amanda S. Kosack, Ulfat Shaikh, Kathleen P. Tebb, Michael C. Fiore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Tobacco smoke exposure leads to numerous adverse health effects in children. Providing cessation interventions to caregivers who smoke during pediatric hospitalizations can help protect children from such exposure. Both pediatric registered nurses (RNs) and pediatric respiratory therapists (RTs) are well positioned to provide these interventions. Little is known about their rates of participation in cessation efforts. Our objective was to compare the attitudes and practice of pediatric RNs versus pediatric RTs to evaluate their relative cessation-intervention practices in the in-patient pediatric setting. METHODS: An online survey was sent to pediatric RNs and RTs at 4 tertiary pediatric hospitals in California. The survey assessed individual demographics, work environment, experience, beliefs, and practices related to smoking cessation activities. Questions used 3-point and 5-point Likert scales and were compared with the chi-square test. Institutions with a response rate < 20% were excluded. RESULTS: A total of 401 respondents were included in the final analysis (292 RNs, 109 RTs). RTs versus RNs were older (42.0 y vs 35.4 y, respectively, P < .001) and more likely to be former smokers (29.9% vs 13.3%, respectively, P < .001). RNs reported lower levels of confidence in discussing smoking cessation with parents, with 11.7% saying they felt "very confident" compared to 29.0% of RTs (P < .001). RNs also reported screening for smoke exposure less frequently than RTs, with 18.8% responding "often" or "always" compared to 28.9% of RTs (P = .033). RNs had lower rates of advising parents "to make a smoke-free home policy" compared to RTs (ie, 13.4% vs 26.9%, respectively, P = .002). CONCLUSIONS: Compared to in-patient pediatric RNs, RTs reported higher rates of confidence in providing cessation interventions, screening for smoke exposure, and counseling on reducing smoke exposure, suggesting that they may be better positioned for intervening. These results can inform the design of an in-patient cessation intervention for caregivers of hospitalized children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021


  • in-patient
  • nurse
  • pediatric hospital
  • respiratory therapist
  • screening
  • tobacco smoke pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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