Conceptual Analysis of Patient Teaching/Education

Concept of Patient Teaching/Education


Rankin, Stallings and London (2005) defined patient teaching (patient education) as the process by which health professionals and others impart information to the patients that will alter their health behaviours or improve their health status. Martin (2012) opined that patient teaching involves helping patients become better informed about their conditions, medical procedures, and choices they have regarding treatment. Quinn (2010) opined that patient teaching involves information giving asking and answering questions, explaining and demonstrating.

Faulkner (1996) cited in Quinn (2010) asserted that patient teaching covers the teaching of the patient to understand his disease which may affect his future or have contributed to his present state.

Walsh (2005) viewed patient teaching as an interactive process whereby learning which may be used to influence behaviour, takes place. Freire (1985) in Walsh (2005) pointed out that real patient education entails emancipation that is librating people to make their own decisions on their own terms. He however, noted that nurses and other professionals have

hesitated to allow patients the control that they need to make their own choices and decisions. At times this reluctance has stemmed from our maternalistic/paternalistic view of patients. Hospitals and other health care agencies have also created organizational barriers that prevent the patient from having the freedom to make decisions about health. Every patient has the right to seek information and participate in the educational plan. Simply providing information about health matters is a waste of time. This is because the purpose of education is to encourage patients to use knowledge to modify behaviour and perform activities that will result in improved health.

From the above definitions one can deduce that patient teaching is an interactive process whereby health professionals impart information on health matters with the aim of changing their health behaviours and thus improve their health status. The above definition implies that the role of the nurse is to plan learning experiences with the patient as a component of total care, so that patients share responsibility for health. When the nurse does this, patients are able to make rational decisions with respect to health, participates in self-care and adjust to the realities of life.

Importance of Patient Teaching


Patient teaching is very important in the health care setting. Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle Cheever, (2010) identified the following importance of patient teaching:

  • Patient teaching provides adequate knowledge and training in self-care skills and thus helps clients to make informed decisions about
  • It helps clients with chronic illness to participate actively in and assume responsibility for much of their own
  • It helps those patients with chronic illness to adapt to their illness, prevent complications, carry out prescribed therapy and solve problems when confronted with new
  • It can also help in preventing crisis situations and reduce the potential for re- hospitalization resulting from inadequate information about self-care.
  • Patient teaching helps clients to achieve their maximum health
  • It helps in reducing health care costs by preventing illness, avoiding expensive medical treatments, decreasing lengths of hospital stays and facilitating earlier
  • Patient teaching is a tool for increasing patient satisfaction and for developing a positive image of the
  • Patient teaching is also a cost-avoidance strategy for those who believe that positive staff patient relationships avert malpractice
  • Patient teaching improves nurses’ job satisfaction because you know you impacted someone’s life
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