Delivery of very brief physical activity advice to cancer patients by nurses – a mixed methods feasibility study of a training intervention

Publication authors

Webb J, Hall J, Hall K, Fabunmi-Alade R



To examine the impact, acceptability, practicability and implementation of a training intervention, designed using the Behaviour Change Wheel, on the delivery of very brief advice on physical activity, by nurses to cancer patients.

Study design

A mixed methods feasibility study.


A purposeful sample of nurses (n = 62) were recruited across two delivery arms, face-to-face (n = 55) and online (n = 7). Frequency of delivery of physical activity advice was collected at baseline with follow-up at 12 weeks. The ‘capability, opportunity and motivation’ of nurses to deliver very brief advice was measured via questionnaire. Semi-structured phone interviews (n = 14) were completed and analyzed thematically. A cost consequence analysis was undertaken.


The intervention improved the ‘capability, opportunity and motivation’ of nurses resulting in a change in knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards physical activity. The intervention was both acceptable and practical.

Face-to-face was the preferred mode of delivery, however there was also value in the online option. The cost of delivery per participant was £33.87 for face-to-face delivery, and £103.83 for online delivery inflated due to low recruitment numbers. A significant improvement was seen in delivery of very brief advice at 12 weeks (Z = −4.39, P ≤ 0.01).


The intervention is acceptable, practical and improves delivery of very brief advice on physical activity by nurses to cancer patients in the short-term. Both face-to-face and online delivery should be considered.