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Motivational Interviewing to Address Vaccine Hesitancy

Motivational Interviewing to Address Vaccine Hesitancy

Motivational interviewing has endless applications when it comes to providing compassionate and person-centered care. Here, Susan Blaakman, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, FNAP describes how APNA partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to provide motivational interviewing education to nursing students conducting community outreach to address vaccine hesitancy.

Could you tell us a little bit about this initiative and APNA’s role?

Earlier this year the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their ‘Building COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Among Nurses and in Communities’ initiative. Developed to help nursing school faculty and students have effective conversations about COVID-19 vaccinations, 10 selected schools of nursing undertook a variety of education and activities to reach individuals and populations at risk.

Recognizing that vaccine hesitancy is complex, AACN brought in APNA, who has expertise in motivational interviewing, and included me, a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, as an expert consultant. As a part of this program, the APNA online Motivational Interviewing educational modules were provided to the nursing schools to help the participants facilitate trust with vulnerable (and largely unvaccinated) communities. The participating schools used the modules interactively in classroom settings to provide foundational content about motivational interviewing spirit, skills, and practice opportunities to inform their future approaches with patients. Our APNA team also provided live consultation to AACN and project leaders to reinforce learning and support protocol development for their programs as needed.

Why is the APNA Motivational Interviewing program useful for addressing vaccine hesitancy?

This APNA program was already developed and ready to implement, plus the 3-hour online training had already been accessed by more than 29,000 nurses and was highly rated. Motivational interviewing as an approach offers a means of non-judgmental, person-centered communication that respects differences, explores ambivalence, and elicits an individual’s motivation to pursue their own health related goals. Further, the training will help reduce burnout and optimize sustainability of this outreach by improving nurse/student confidence and compassion when engaging in difficult conversations – recognizing that patients have the responsibility to make their own health choices.

Have there been any feedback and interesting takeaways so far?

Feedback about motivational interviewing through the course of the project was highly favorable. The themes expressed by participants were “this makes sense”; it “can be used for everything”; and it is consistent with efforts toward cultural humility. As a part of this initiative, AACN is in the process of creating an online repository to highlight the work of participating schools, post videos from the funded sites, and share learnings and best practices with the higher education and healthcare communities. Stay tuned for more!

The APNA Motivational Interviewing program is free to APNA members! Learn More