Tips for better patient teaching

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    tips for better patient teaching

    how can you best use your time?

    first, make sure you're organized and prepared with the teaching tools you'll need at hand. if you routinely care for patients with a certain health problem, such as diabetes, collect appropriate handouts, videos, and fact sheets and keep them in an area designated for teaching tools. create a system to keep them available to staff.

    when choosing or creating written teaching aids, keep the language and illustrations simple. many adults read two grade levels below the grade they completed in school. unless they read avidly, their reading skills may deteriorate every year they're out of school. most experts recommend using teaching aids written at a fifth-grade reading level.

    then, look for "teachable moments," when your patient is most ready to learn-not when he's tired, in pain, or distracted. this approach lets him process small doses of information at a time and learn at his own pace.

    teachable moments arise naturally during your daily routine. for instance, a patient taking warfarin may ask, "why do i need this medicine?" seize the moment to explain why the drug has been prescribed for him, what adverse reactions to watch for, and why he'll need follow-up lab work to check his dosage.

    in some cases, you may need to schedule a more formal session to teach a skill, such as insulin self-injection. if you're meeting the patient for the first time, introduce yourself and shake hands. find a private, quiet area, with comfortable seating and good lighting, then sit at his level and make eye contact.

    before you start, identify hearing, sight, and age-related problems that interfere with understanding. if your patient is hearing-impaired and can lip-read, sit facing him and talk slowly and clearly. if he has a hearing aid, make sure that he's using it and that it's working properly. if he needs glasses, make sure that he's wearing them. ask if he can hear what you're saying and see what you're doing. a patient may nod even if he isn't hearing properly, so periodically assess his understanding.

    excerpts from:
    nursing: tips for better patient teaching
    Last edit by VickyRN on Dec 27, '06
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