Implementation of motivational interviewing in the general practice setting: a qualitative study

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Background: General Practitioners (GPs) and Practice Nurses (PNs) collaboratively play an important role in preventing and monitoring chronic diseases. They are trained in Motivational Interviewing (MI), which is a communication style to intrinsically motivate patients to a healthier lifestyle. However, being trained in MI skills does not necessarily mean that it is implemented in daily practice so patients actually benefit. The aim of this study is to identify factors that facilitate or impede the implementation of MI in General Practice. Methods: A total of 152 participants (93 GP-trainees and 59 PN-trainees) who were trained in MI completed a questionnaire regarding the implementation of MI. Semi-structured interviews (N = 17) were conducted with GPs and PNs (ranging from almost graduated to highly experienced) who were selected through the process of maximum variation sampling. The interview guide was based on the five-stage implementation model of Grol and Wensing. Results: Thirteen factors that influence the implementation of MI in General Practice were identified. They can be allocated to three categories: (1) setting factors such as time, (2) GP/PN factors such as self-efficacy, and (3) patient factors such as cultural background. Conclusions: Overall, GPs and PNs considered MI to be useful and part of their professional responsibility. Most difficulties become apparent in stage 4 (change: applying MI skills in practice) and 5 (consolidation: integrating MI into daily routine and embedment in organisation) of Grol and Wensing’s model. Therefore, it is important that training does not only focus on MI skills. It is essential to pay explicit attention to the factors that impact implementation, as well as the appropriate tools to tackle the barriers. These insights can help trainers to effectively support GPs and PNs to apply and maintain their MI skills in daily practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalBMC primary care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Family medicine
  • General practitioner
  • Implementation
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Practice Nurse

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