March 27, 2023
Annapolis, US 60 F

How Patient Education in Nursing Benefits Patients

Nursing is not just about dispensing and administering treatments. Nurses have a solemn duty to teach their patients ways to prevent and manage their medical conditions. Patient education helps nurses relay critical information that helps improve patients’ knowledge and confidence in the skills they need to prevent and manage medical conditions and take control of their overall healthcare. 

When patients play a central role in their care programs, they are more likely to participate actively in interventions that improve their chances of a positive outcome. Here is a look at the role of patient education in nursing and how it benefits patients.

What is patient education?

Patient education is a teaching and learning process that is designed to influence patient behavior and initiate changes in the attitudes, skills, and knowledge needed to maintain or improve health. Healthcare providers use various strategies to better inform their patients about their conditions and the care management strategies to help them realize their health and wellness goals. 

Providers can also use patient education strategies to prepare their patients for specific procedures better and equip them with skills to care for themselves after a procedure. The education targets patients, their next of kin, communities, and at-home caregivers directly involved in the patient’s care. 

The roles of patient education and its benefits

Patient education is vital for engagement in pre-and post-care management, as well as chronic disease management and preventive care. It empowers individuals to make informed health-related decisions and choose actions that improve outcomes. It also helps to prevent misinformation that puts public health and high-risk groups in danger. 

Here is a look at some of the benefits and the importance of patient education:

  • Patient empowerment: Patients dealing with medical conditions often feel powerless and at a loss. It is easy to be overwhelmed when one finds themselves in the uncharted waters of a new diagnosis. Patient education helps individuals understand their conditions and the available treatment options, including procedures and side effects. When nurses present patients with critical information about their condition and care management practices, they feel more confident in their decision-making. Since they are empowered and control their situations, patients tend to participate actively in discussions with their doctors instead of blindly following their providers’ orders.
  • Ensure better health outcomes: One of the foremost benefits of patient education is better health outcomes. Studies reveal patient education has a significant impact on patient engagement. In addition to making patients more knowledgeable and informed, educational programs help them become more cooperative since they trust their doctors and the treatments they are receiving. Patients who have gone through health education programs are more likely to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions, take medication correctly and adopt good habits that guarantee a better health status.
  • Lower readmission rates: Healthcare providers can also leverage patient education to reduce readmission rates. When patients follow proper treatment guidelines and instructions on taking care of themselves, they are more likely to avoid complications, thereby reducing the need to return to the hospital to visit their physicians more often than planned. Nurses can achieve this through a custom discharge patient education program.
  • Enhanced quality of life for patients: Patient education can help enhance the quality of life for people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Chronic disease management requires permanent lifestyle changes, making health education crucial in achieving these goals. Education ensures more accurate health beliefs and knowledge, which empowers individuals to make better lifestyle choices and develop effective habits.
  • Higher patient satisfaction: Health education leads to a better healthcare experience and patient satisfaction. When patients are adequately informed about their conditions and the available treatment options, they feel more reassured and optimistic about their future and will contribute to critical decisions that impact their well-being. Instead of feeling frustrated and powerless, knowledgeable patients actively participate in each stage of the treatment process.
  • Lower healthcare costs: When patients disregard treatment plans, it results in poor healing outcomes. Some conditions may also worsen and require a patient to be readmitted. This ultimately increases costs while burdening the healthcare system by minimizing capacity. In addition, many health conditions trigger complications that worsen the situation when not treated properly. Patient education can help address this problem by empowering individuals to make informed decisions about managing their conditions. 

Components of the patient education process

Here is a look at the four components of the patient education process: assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation.


The first step requires a provider to assess their patient’s needs based on existing knowledge about their condition and preferred learning method. They can interview the patient and their close family members to achieve an objective assessment. Some of the interview questions to ask include:

  • How has their condition impacted their life and daily routine
  • Fears and concerns they might have
  • What they already know about their illness and what they would like to learn
  • Their preferred method of learning
  • The time they are available for learning sessions
  • Possible barriers to their learning


Planning involves generating information to pass on to the patients and choosing the learning materials to use. Create a schedule and decide how often you will meet with your patient. Ensure you involve your patient in the planning phase by inquiring about their preferences. Experts recommend that you prioritize the need-to-know information to avoid information overload.


The next step involves actual learning. Leverage the ideal learning strategies and tools identified by your initial assessment. You can tailor them based on how each patient responds.


An objective evaluation helps determine whether the patient is benefitting from the program. Some of the effective evaluation methods to consider include:

  • Ask follow-up questions regarding processes and concepts after a learning session.
  • Give patients simple tests and questionnaires to complete.
  • Ask patients to perform learned tasks in your presence, such as reading a glucometer or blood pressure monitor.
  • Present patients with hypothetical scenarios and ask what course of action they would take. For example, walk them through a situation where one experiences adverse side effects from a drug.
  • Perform the necessary measurements to determine the actual results when you anticipate a change in their physical condition.

Ways to improve patient education in nursing

Patient education is one of the most critical leadership skills in nursing and one that nurses will study during a MENP program like the one offered at Elmhurst University. Nurses juggle many responsibilities, making it more challenging to fit teaching into their busy schedules. The following approaches can help nurses think on their feet and improve outcomes through effective patient education:

Keep it simple and clear.

Nurses and other healthcare professionals often use complex terms when communicating among themselves. However, during patient education, these terms should never be used. Avoid using medical terminology and abbreviations as much as possible. Keeping your language at the patient’s level of competency helps them read, understand and use the information you are giving them. Where possible, choose simpler words and phrases over complex medical jargon.

Start early

Don’t wait until after the patient is discharged to start your education. Patient education should be an ongoing process, from the initial consultation and assessment stage to discharge time. Patients often operate in stressful situations, and the first days after a diagnosis are the worst. Provide preliminary knowledge of what lies ahead to help them feel safer and prevent them from developing misleading hypotheses.

Show empathy

Empathy is critical to the success of any patient education program. Despite your workplace pressures, strive to show empathy when providing health education. As a healthcare professional, you are accustomed to dealing with illness daily. However, for many patients, it may be their first time tackling such a stressful situation. Fear and stress can put their minds in overdrive and trigger aggressive or negative behaviors. You must move past such setbacks and maintain a positive attitude when dealing with your patients. 

Offer information in their native language

Healthcare literacy rates don’t necessarily match standard literacy rates. A patient could possess good comprehension skills but still experience difficulties understanding the healthcare information needed to make informed decisions. If a language barrier is preventing effective patient care, leverage apps for nurses such as Medibabble and Google Translate to enhance the quality of patient education and healthcare. Explain everything orally to the individual patient before they take the educational material home, and encourage them to reach out if they have any questions or concerns. 

Focus on the benefits.

Expect some patients to have doubts about joining an educational program. Patients who are in denial or overwhelmed by their newfound situation may be reluctant or unwilling to make lifestyle changes and develop new routines. Don’t try to intimidate uncooperative patients. Doing so could be counterproductive and make them more aggressive. Instead, focus your programs on the benefits of how information about their medical condition and following their treatment routine help improve their well-being and mood. 

Leverage the teach back method

The teach back method can help nurses improve patient education. It involves asking patients to paraphrase what they have learned and what they need to improve their health outcomes. It is an effective way to confirm patients have understood the pieces of information they need to know. Ensuring your patient repeats back accurate information is an effective way to fill any gaps in communication. 

Write down important information.

Patients who are struggling with adverse symptoms, including pain, nausea, or breathing difficulties, are more likely to find it difficult to understand new concepts and remember details. When dealing with such situations, consider writing down detailed instructions for patients to reference later and prevent beneficial patient education from being lost. You should also provide patients with contact information, including phone numbers, to reach out if they have questions.

Provide educational content in various forms

Each patient has their own learning style, so enriching patient education programs with different learning materials is imperative. Different types of resources appeal to different patients. While some patients understand and absorb information better by watching videos, others would rather read brochures. 

Here is a brief overview of common types of learners and the educational resources that best suit their needs:

  • Visual: These are learners who absorb information by observing and reading. Use charts and infographics to teach these patients. You can also give them brochures to read at home.
  • Auditory: Auditory learners learn best by listening to information. These learners benefit from one-on-one meetings where discussions are held. Organize meet-ups with such patients to discuss their healthcare and answer their questions. You can also use videos and podcasts to teach these patients. 
  • Kinesthetic learners: These are learners who prefer hands-on practice over other teaching methods. During your sessions, demonstrate how to use the various medical equipment and let them do it themselves until they master it.

Involve family

Where possible, ensure primary caregivers and close family members are present during the learning program. Patients usually feel overwhelmed in learning situations, and the presence of familiar faces can help them feel more comfortable. This helps them relax and absorb all the vital information you provide them. The family member can also help follow up on the instructions and update you on the patient’s progress. 

Provide take-home materials

It is vital to provide the patients with the material they can take home. Patient education materials allow them to read or watch information at their own pace. It also gives them ample time to formulate any questions they have. Where necessary, write down the most critical information on a separate sheet to avoid overwhelming your patients. 

Patient education is a critical part of nursing and ensures patients receive clear and complete instructions about managing their own care. It increases a patient’s knowledge and confidence in the skills they need to maintain their wellness once they are discharged from the hospital. Nurses can provide this expert care by educating their patients on improving their health through treatment procedures, healthy habits, and careful monitoring. 

Previous Article

Daily News Brief | March 17, 2023

Next Article

Here’s the FULL Slate for the 11th Annual Annapolis Film Festival

You might be interested in …