BACKGROUND:Motivational interviewing (MI) is internationally recognised as an effective intervention to facilitate health-related behaviour change; although, how it is best implemented and maintained in everyday clinical practice is not so clear. The aim of this study is to understand how MI as an intervention can be embedded and sustained in the clinical practice and learning environments. METHODS:A concurrent iterative mixed methodology was utilised. Data collection occurred in two parts: a scoping review to identify reported barriers and enablers to embedding and sustaining MI in healthcare settings, and a survey of health professionals at an international clinical educator workshop on the topic. Results from both methods were integrated at the analysis phase ('following a thread') to understand how MI is embedded and the fidelity sustained in the clinical environments. Complexity theory as a conceptualising framework was utilised. RESULTS:Eleven studies were included, and 30 health professionals were surveyed. Sustainability of MI at micro-clinical levels can be fostered through use of enabling technology, focus on patient-centred care, personnel development and process improvement. At the meso-organisational level, developing shared vision, creating opportunities and an organisational culture supportive of continuous learning are relevant issues. At the macro levels, adopting systems thinking and a learning organisation approach is important for sustaining MI. CONCLUSIONS:In addressing the recognised barriers to embedding and sustaining MI in health service provisions, clinical educators could potentially play a central role as change agents within and across the complex clinical system.