The need to improve the health status of patients through the alteration of their health behavior calls for patient education. Healthcare providers and other health professionals have a responsibility of ensuring that patients are equipped with the necessary information that can help them in improving their health status (Bastable 67). Managed care plans rely heavily on health education for them to deliver the desired results. The most fundamental categories of patient education include the health promotion education and the general preventive education.
There are other scenarios where patients are given specific education on a particular medical condition (Bastable 68). The most common patient education providers include medical social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, advanced practice nurses and other special interest groups. This essay will discuss the role of nursing in patient education, and its effects on the patient health improvement. Patient education is very critical in improving the health of patients.
It is vital to highlight the importance of patient education before looking at the various roles of nurses in patient education. To begin with, patient education improves the ability of a patient to understand a particular disease and its diagnosis. Patients are also able to manage medical conditions that have multiple aspects through patient education (Fulton 111). The self-advocacy of patients can also be enhanced when it comes to taking specific actions that are related to their health (Fulton 111). Patients who have undergone some education are likely to comply with instructions from healthcare providers compared to those without patient education. Statistics show that patient education helps in reducing the number of medical complication and at the same time improves response to treatment (Fulton 113).
Medical services are very expensive and it is therefore very important for the services to be utilized in the best way possible (Masters 64). Patient education is very important in ensuring that the available medical services are utilized in the best way possible. Patient education reduces unnecessary visits and phone calls because patients are able to do some things on their own.
Patient education encourages patients to always come back to the same facility and even refer other patients to the facility (Masters 64). Patient education brings satisfaction and also makes patients to have confidence in the nurses and physicians attending to them. Patient education plays a vital role in helping patients to have realistic expectations. Patients with realistic expectations create an enabling environment for risk management (Fulton 136).
Nurses play a major role in patient education and should therefore have some competencies that can help them carry out this role in the best way possible (Rankin 88). In offering patient education, a nurse should be able to incorporate social responsibilities and personal ethics. Nurses offering health education should demonstrate accuracy and competence when delivering health care. A health educator should have the capacity to practice preventive health care that is very important when dealing with patients.
Nurses offering health education should have a close relationship with patients and their families to enhance relationship-centered care (Rankin 88). An effective health educator should have a competence in incorporating multiple determinants of health. Nurses offering health education should have the capacity to effectively use technology in an appropriate manner. Nurses should also be able to deal with patients from different cultural diversities without being culturally insensitive (Masters 92). A good health educator should have the desire to advance their education despite being in the field.
Nurses have a very important role to play in patient education because they act as a link between patients and physicians (Falvo 84). Patients need to be educated on how to maintain health and manage illnesses. Nurses have a special role of ensuring that all patients together with their families clearly understand the illnesses and conditions they may be suffering from.
After helping patients to understand their illnesses, nurses inform the patients and their families on the available treatment options for their case (Falvo 85). Nurses educate patients on how to manage chronic conditions and diseases such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS by equipping them with the necessary skills needed to cope with the conditions. Nurses have the responsibility of informing the patients on the importance of complying with treatment regimens (Falvo 85).
The other role of nurses in patient education is to offer the necessary counsel to patients on issues to do with fitness and nutrition (Masters 166). Optimum health is enhanced in a great way by effective nutrition and training programs that should be recommended by nurses. Nurses are normally trained on the various ways of improving and maintaining a patient’s health through nutrition and fitness programs (Masters 186).
Public health nurses have a responsibility of ensuring that the public is well educated on the available vaccinations and the various ways of controlling disease outbreaks. Nurses should also ensure that patients are well informed when it comes to the prescribed treatment (Fulton 85). Nurses should also educate patients on all the available proactive measures necessary to prevent certain diseases and illnesses. This aspect of nursing is normally covered under preventive care (Falvo 115).
Healthcare literacy is a serious thing that should be taken seriously by nurses and other healthcare providers (Falvo 115). Nurses should take a leading role in ensuring that patients are completely responsible for their own health by helping them in the process of improving their health outcomes. Patient education should change the way a patient reasons and understands issues.
There are many illiterate people around the world who are not able to read and this portrays the enormous task that nurses have in educating patients (Rankin 137). Nurses should first of all find a patient’s level of knowledge for them to know where to begin from when offering patient education. It is important to note that even the most educated patient may turn out to be healthcare illiterate.
Nurses educate patients on all the basics about care which can be useful to them in their entire lifetime (Rankin 138). The job of a nurse can be simplified if their patients take control of their treatment. This can only be made possible through patient education that empowers patients to determine what is best for them. Appropriate health decisions can only be made if patients understand basic health information. Nurses should ensure that their patients clearly understand the healthcare system through effective communication (Falvo 198).
Apart from making patients understand their medical condition, nurses have to go ahead and ensure their patients fully understand the nature of their treatment. Some treatments have complex instructions that may confuse patients if there is no patient education. Nurses have to ensure that patients understand every detail of the instructions given to them (Falvo 199). This helps a great deal in preventing adverse health outcomes on the side of patients. Some patients find it difficult to accept a diagnosis because they simply lack patient education (Bastable 145). Nurses who educate their patients motivate them to actively participate in the actual treatment after accepting their diagnosis from an informed point of view.
Patients are supposed to be educated on what they need to change in terms of the attitudes and behaviors in order to achieve positive health outcomes (Bastable 145). Nurses should have a clear understanding of the relationship between a particular disease and the literacy level of a patient. Nurses have an important role in ensuring that patients completely follow their treatment plans (Rankin 165).
It is difficult for patients to adhere to their treatment plans if they are not given proper education by nurses. Self-administration of medications without adequate patient education can cause some serious errors that can eventually lead to negative outcomes. In educating their patients, nurses should follow patients to their homes to ensure that they completely follow the recommended guidelines (Rankin 165).
The medical advice offered to patients by nurses should be simplified for easy understanding (Fulton 212). Nurses should focus on delivering relevant information without going into unnecessary details. Nurses have the responsibility of ensuring that their patients fully understand all the written medical information. Nurses should simplify reading materials because many patients are able to understand materials that are written in a simple manner for purposes of improving knowledge (Fulton 212). Nurses can use visual aids when it comes to passing out information in a simplified manner.
Nurses must ensure that their patients are able to understand what informed consent entails. Health literacy should be enhanced by nurses as a way of improving compliance. Patient education is very important when it comes to making critical decisions such as whether to undergo surgery or not (Masters 123). Nurses should educate patients on the possible outcomes of a prospective surgery for them to make informed decisions.
There are several ways through which nurses can improve self-care during the process of educating patients (Fulton 171). To begin with, nurses can organize for self management classes to enhance self-care. Some of the things taught in these classes include self monitoring and adherence to treatment plans. Nurses should also provide decision aids for their patients (Fulton 171).
Nurses have to make sure that patients are aware of all the available reporting systems for them to seek help when they encounter some adverse situations. The mental and physical functioning of patients basically depends on their level of interaction with nurses (Rankin 246). Nurses are required to only teach what they understand to minimize complications and errors.
In conclusion, nurses have a very important role to play when it comes to patient education. Patient education is critical in improving patient healthcare outcomes. Nurses have a responsibility of educating their patients on health related lifestyles, self-care activities, treatment adherence, physical functioning and mental functioning (Falvo 18).
Through patient education, patients are able to comprehend medical information and at the same time have a clear understanding of the available treatment options (Rankin 56). Healthcare facilities should invest in patient education because it plays a vital role in patient health improvement. Nurses should undergo some specialized training for them to have the required competence when it comes to educating patients.
Bastable, Susan. Nurse as Educator: Principles of Teaching and Learning for Nursing Practice, London: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2008. Print.
Falvo, Donna. Effective Patient Education: A Guide to Increased adherence, London: Jones & Bartlett Publishers. Print.
Fulton, Janet. Foundations of Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice, New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2010. Print.
Masters, Kathleen. Role Development in Professional Nursing Practice, London: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2009. Print.
Rankin, Sally. Patient Education: In Health and Illness, London: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005. Print.