Improving cardiovascular health with motivational interviewing: A nurse practitioner perspective

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2010 Dec;22(12):654-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2010.00561.x. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to provide nurse practitioners (NPs) with an evidence-based counseling strategy for motivating patients to adopt healthier cardiovascular lifestyles and reduce their cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. A comprehensive overview of motivational interviewing (MI), framed within the context of the transtheoretical model of change (TTM), demonstrates how primary care NPs can utilize this counseling approach to optimize cardiovascular outcomes in their patients.

Data sources: Published original research and review articles in scholarly journals on the following topics: MI; advice giving; counseling techniques; TTM; CVD; quality NP care.

Conclusions: Although the major risk factors for CVD are largely preventable, CVD rates are increasing to epidemic proportions. Traditional advice giving to decrease CVD risk is minimally effective. MI combined with TTM is an effective counseling technique, which motivates patients who are resistant and ambivalent to change. MI is an appropriate, evidence-based strategy to promote cardiovascular health.

Implications for practice: NPs working in primary care can integrate MI with TTM into ongoing patient encounters to facilitate positive behavior changes in their patients over time. Thus, NPs can play a key role in decreasing the growing burden of CVD in North America.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Life Style
  • Models, Nursing
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation*
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Nurse Practitioners / organization & administration*
  • Nurse Practitioners / psychology
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Participation* / methods
  • Patient Participation* / psychology
  • Primary Health Care / methods