In nursing profession, we teach, instruct, gives direction, demonstrate and educate our patients as one of our very important tasks. It is a must and need not be skipped as it is crucial for patients to be informed and be properly educated of every diagnostic procedures/ tests, treatments, medications, planning, interventions, outcomes etc. as that will dictate their path towards comfort, well-being and eventually in taking the lead in keeping themselves healthy and well prior to being discharged that will ultimately prevent another hospitalization and better quality of life based on their physical and mental state.
And as nurses, we need to always be safe and certain so we can’t assume. We can’t assume and believe that one is already aware of a certain medication or procedure unless it’s validated. We need to look out for our patient’s welfare by making sure they are well-educated. As nurses, we bridge in the gap between what they already know and then adding in those things that they need to know.
So why is patient education important in nursing…here’s why.
Why Is Patient Education Important
Knowledge is power as what we always say. Patients needs to lead his own care and be knowledgeable by being aware of the possible consequences of their disease.
- They need to know their treatment options and the risks involved with those diagnostic tests or treatment procedures as they have to make important informed decision based on those informations.
- Patients that are well-informed is more likely to be with an open mind and not going to be stressed as he/she knows her options.
- With proper nurse patient education it will promote optimum health and positive patient behavior as he/she will feel empowered to help themselves.
- By being aware of the risks of their conditions, promotes safety and avoids injury.
- With knowledge comes proper attitude towards their treatments, diet and activities which will help restore their health.
- Patient will cope better.
- By being educated give patients sense of control that elevates their self-esteem which enhances self care and being more responsible for their health.
- It increases the chance of patients adherence to disease management and they become more accountable for their own health.
- It will increase the likelihood of a successful recovery.
- And ultimately it will lead to health promotion that will make patients live a good quality of life.
- It will cut health care cost as it will decrease the length of patient’s hospital stay and readmission.
What Are The Barriers Towards Good Patient Education
- Close mindedness or being in denial.
- Poor physical image.
- Confusion or altered mental status.
- Lack of proper education.
- Poor psycho social background.
- Language barrier.
- Impaired judgment or cognitive issues due to pain or anti anxiety medications.
- Poor patient and family receptiveness and availability for teaching.
- Poor physiological well-being.
- Nurses lack of time to educate patient sufficiently and efficiently due to high work loads.
- Patient’s high anxiety level.
- Lack of discharge preplanning method wherein the nurse or the patient would rush due to different reasons, like sometimes patient’s ride is already waiting or the nurse has other tasks to do thus discharge education gets shortened or gets eliminated totally.
- Inability of the nurse to properly approach the effective way a certain patient will understand teaching easily.
- Nurses inability to use words that are easily understandable to patients and families.
- Proper delivery of education by showing proper body language and by being tactful is important as well.
- Let’s face it, some hospital are not conducive for teaching and learning due to noise and being a stressful environment.
Ways To Improve Patient Education
- Nurses need to remember that discharge planning begins in admission. It is reassuring to patients that their needs are being determined as soon as they got admitted.
- It is important for the nurse to assess the readiness of the patient to learn.
- Assessing patient’s barriers to education is crucial too as it will give the nurse ideas to approach teaching accordingly where she/he will be best understood by the patient or the family.
- Preplanning and giving enough time for education is important.
- Nurses need a better understanding of different learning styles and teaching strategies.
- Nurses mastery or knowledge of the educational topic needs to be present.
- Presenting information in a language that can be easily understand by the patient or family will make them more engaged and be willing to take part in it.
- Incorporating patient’s individuality may help too.
- Reducing environmental distractions like turning off the TV or closing the door is important.
- Educate with motivation and encouragement for positive outcome.
- If possible, teach at a time that is conducive to patient and family.
- Involve family or love ones as their presence is important because of support that they provide and they can also reinforce those informations that has been taught.
- Determining potential issues and needs relating to the discharge and beyond. Patient or family that has worries will most likely be less focused.
- Using literature and simulation.
- Return demonstration is very helpful too when administering care and involving patient with his/her care at all times.
- Incorporate patient education each care, in every treatment and every time medications are being given.
- Coordinate teaching with other staff for a continuous education.
- Asking or quizzing patients with medication information, their disease process and side effects of their medications are very helpful as well.
Knowledge Is Power
Empowering patient and their family with knowledge of their disease or condition is very important. The ability to enhance their way of living or to change their lifestyles through those nurse patient teaching has a very high impact. Those valuable information if delivered properly by the nurses leads every patient to wellness and good quality of life.
To end this topic. I would like to tell a short story where patient’s discharge education was ineffective which will serve as a lesson to a lot of us,health care professionals.
A nurse was discharging a patient when I was passing by the patient room down the hallway. The door was ajar so I overheard the patient screaming at the nurse and the nurse’s voice was also getting louder as she was talking to the patient. Then the next thing I heard was “get out of this room”, yelled by the patient to the nurse.
So, I went inside the room to assist and since the patient was already very upset I asked the other nurse to leave the room to give the patient time to calm down. I stayed in the room quietly until patient was ready to tell me what has happened. She stated that the nurse was condescending, was rolling her eyes and was giving her negative remarks while giving her discharge instructions and when she was asking her questions.
Patient is known to have some behavioral issues that made the nurse loss her temper. It was a situation that didn’t need to happen. As, nursing professional we have to behave in a way that will best represent us. Being a nurse is not easy but being in our best behavior is important as we deal with patients that are either mentally or physically incapacitated.
I hope I have enlightened you with this topic. If you have anything to add, any questions or comments please leave them down below.