What next for behaviour change professional development in general practice? insights from an environmental scan and workshops

Bryce Brickley, Jenny Advocat, Lin Chai Tze, Mitchell Bowden, Elizabeth Rieger, Lauren Ball, Raeann Ng, Nilakshi Gunatillaka, Elizabeth Ann Sturgiss

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A key role of general practice professionals (i.e., general practitioners [GPs], and general practice nurses [GPNs]) is to support patients to change behaviours. Traditional approaches to assisting patients with, and learning about, behaviour change have modest outcomes.

To explore behaviour change with GPs and GPNs and the availability of related professional development (PD) opportunities.

Design & setting
Multi-methods study comprising an environmental scan survey of behaviour change tools and PD opportunities, and online workshops with Australian GPs and GPNs.

Survey data were analysed using qualitative content analysis, informing the design of the workshops. Workshop data included: observation, note-taking, and collaborative reflection, which were analysed thematically and synthesised with survey data.

Results and Conclusion
Survey responses (n=18) and two virtual workshops (W1 n=30, W2 n=8). There was diversity in awareness of existing behaviour change tools and resources. Preferences for future tools and PD opportunities related to specific aspects of its design, content, activities, and delivery. Three themes developed from the workshop data relating to relationships, continuity, and context. In the absence of tools and resources, GPs and GPNs in our study discussed behaviour change as something that occurs best through a patient-centred alliance that is continuing, respectful, grounded in trust and an understanding of their patient, and prioritises patient autonomy. Future general practice behaviour change PD should support clinicians to ‘assist’ patients and recognise the social and contextual influences on behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalBJGP Open
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Feb 2024


  • Behavioural change
  • family physicians
  • family medicine
  • primary health care
  • quality
  • education


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