Guide to Patient Education: A Nursing Process


Health education is an essential tool for a nurse to effectively channel the patient’s role for his health management. Patient education requires patients/clients skill building and responsibility: patients need to know when, how, and why they need to make a lifestyle change.


1. Assess the person’s readiness for health education.

  • What are the person’s health beliefs and behaviors?
  • What physical and psychosocial adaptations does the person need to make?
  • Is the learner ready to learn?
  • Is the person able to learn these behaviors?
  • What additional information about the person is needed?
  • Are there any variables (e.g., hearing or visual impairment) that will affect the choice of teaching strategy or approach?
  • What are the person’s expectations?
  • What does the person want to learn?

2. Organize, analyze, synthesize, and summarize the collected data.

Nursing Diagnosis

1. Formulate the nursing diagnoses that relate to the person’s learning needs.
2. Identify the learning needs, their characteristics, and their etiology.
3. State nursing diagnoses concisely and precisely.

Planning and Goals

1. Assign priority to the nursing diagnoses that relate to the individual’s learning needs.
2. Specify the immediate, intermediate, and long-term learning goals established by teacher and learner together.
3. Identify teaching strategies appropriate for goal attainment.
4. Establish expected outcomes.
5. Develop the written teaching plan.

  • Include diagnoses, goals, teaching strategies, and expected outcomes.
  • Put the information to be taught in logical sequence.
  • Write down the key points.
  • Select appropriate teaching aids.
  • Keep the plan current and flexible to meet the person’s changing learning needs.

6. Involve the learner, family or significant others, nursing team members, and other health care team members in all aspects of planning.


1. Put the teaching plan into action.
2. Use language the person can understand.
3. Use appropriate teaching aids and provide Internet resources if appropriate.
4. Use the same equipment that the person will use after discharge.
5. Encourage the person to participate actively in learning.
6. Record the learner’s responses to the teaching actions.
7. Provide feedback.


1. Collect objective data.

  • Observe the person.
  • Ask questions to determine whether the person understands.
  • Use rating scales, checklists, anecdotal notes, and written tests when appropriate.

2. Compare the person’s behavioral responses with the expected outcomes. Determine the extent to which the goals were achieved.
3. Include the person, family or significant others, nursing team members, and other health care team members in the evaluation.
4. Identify alterations that need to be made in the teaching plan.
5. Make referrals to appropriate sources or agencies for reinforcement of learning after discharge.
6. Continue all steps of the teaching process: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

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