Section II. PATIENT TEACHING
FACTS RELATED TO PATIENT TEACHING
a. Patient teaching is a function of nursing and a legal requirement of nursing
personnel. Teaching is considered a function of nursing. In some states teaching is
included in the legal definition of nursing, making it a required function of nursing
personnel by law.
b. Patient teaching is defined as a system of activities intended to produce
learning. These activities should help the patient meet individual learning objectives. If
they do not, the patient's need should be reassessed and the activities replaced by others.
For example, explanation alone may not teach a diabetic patient how to prepare the
syringe for an injection. Actually preparing the syringe may be more effective.
c. Patient teaching is a dynamic interaction between the nurse (teacher) and the
patient (learner). Both the teacher and the learner communicate information, emotions,
d. Before learning can occur, a relationship of trust and respect must exist
between the teacher and learner. The learner trusts the teacher to have the required
knowledge and skills to teach and the teacher respects the learner's ability to reach the
goals. This relationship is enhanced by communication that is continuous and reciprocal,
once mutual trust and respect have been established.
e. The goal of patient teaching is the patient's active participation in health care
and his compliance with instructions. Once the nurse begins instructing a patient (or
family/support persons), the teaching process should continue until the participants reach
the goals, change the goals, or decide that the goals will not help meet the learning
STEPS IN THE TEACHING-LEARNING PROCESS
a. Assess the Patient's Learning Needs.
(1) Use all appropriate sources of information. Review the patient's medical
records. Read the history of medical problems as well as diagnoses, physical
examinations, documentation of the nursing assessment, and the nursing interventions
that have been performed. The patient and the family or support persons are the best
source of needs assessment information.
(2) Identify the knowledge, attitude, or skills needed by the patient or
family/support persons. Learning can be divided into three domains: cognitive, affective,
and psychomotor. You may categorize learning that is planned for the patient into these