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Fam Med. 2005 Feb;37(2):105-11.

Implementation of a smoking cessation counseling module in a preceptorship program.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Family medicine preceptorships are underused opportunities for learning smoking cessation counseling skills. To prepare students for their future roles in preventing health problems in patients who use tobacco, we implemented a patient-centered instructional module within the elective Texas Statewide Family Practice Preceptorship Program.


Seventy-eight preclinical medical students learned to screen for tobacco use and perform smoking cessation counseling using brief motivational methods. Students practiced these skills under the supervision of community preceptors. Program evaluation included measurement of the percentage of students who documented that they could screen for tobacco use, their increase in knowledge and sense of self efficacy in conducting smoking cessation counseling, and performance of appropriate and time-efficient interventions.


Fifty-four of 78 students screened 1,891 patients and documented 593 current tobacco users. The students provided appropriate smoking cessation intervention for 539 (91%) of these patients. Each intervention session took approximately 5 to 10 minutes. There was a more than 50% increase in the proportion of students who "agreed" or "strongly agreed" to having increased their knowledge and confidence in conducting smoking cessation counseling between the orientation and the end of their summer preceptorship.


With focused training, preclinical medical students can successfully learn and practice patient-centered screening and smoking cessation counseling skills in a community preceptorship setting that fits the needs of busy preceptors and prepares students for their future roles in tobacco control.

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