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Utilizing Motivational Interviewing to Encourage Weight Loss in Primary Care

Purpose and Background: The purpose of this project was to educate nurse practitioners (NPs) and nurses (RNs) to promote healthy changes in obese individuals using the principles of Motivational interviewing (MI). Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States with two out of every three adults considered overweight or obese. Their health problems become costly and deadly. Ideally, RNs and NPs are the front line providers in this struggle of obesity because of their philosophy of health promotion. RNs and NPs can screen and address obesity through lifestyle counseling. Motivational interviewing, a proven and effective counseling method, is useful in enhancing changes directed towards reaching health behavior goals. Methods: This project began after Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, and recruiting graduate nursing students at a western Massachusetts university that are board certified as RN and NP. The first part of the project commenced with pre-survey, then the viewing of an online MI educational session, followed by a written post-survey and at one month to see if participants are utilizing these skills in their practice. Results. Ten participants started and seven participants completed the project. (RN 60%, NP 40%). All were female. RNs and NPs increased their knowledge of MI principles and core skills measured by survey. Implications/Conclusion: The primary outcome of the project was that NPs and RNs demonstrated increased knowledge of MI principles and core skills after completing online training. The secondary outcome was the NPs and RNs recognized the value of MI counseling methods and facilitated the use of MI techniques in practice of obesity management.