Nurses are often the direct link between patients and their wellbeing. Nurse-client relationship is defined as " an interaction aimed to enhance the well-being of a client." As, I study Hildegard Peplaud's nursing theory, I tend to focus on the "teaching role." Peplaud explains that there are two subcategories of the teaching role; Instructional and experimental. We will focus on the instructional.
"The instructional consists of giving a wide variety of information that is given to the patients." We have all been introduced, to this role. We've given out reading material such as brochures or pamphlets, on disease processes. We've handed out discharge instructions. However, are we 100% certain that our patients understand?
Studies have shown it can take anywhere from 15 days to 254 days to truly form a new habit. How often, while the patient is in our care do we teach them to avoid salt, check the blood sugar, or to stop smoking? Every interaction, with the patient, should include teaching and repetition. When we bring them their breakfast, lunch, and dinner trays stating, "Now, this is a low sodium diet. When you get home remember that sodium can cause fluid retention, which can cause your blood pressure, to increase" every day for the three days that they are, in our care, can aid in subconsciously triggering that teaching, each time food is presented to them, at home. As we perform wound care on a diabetic patient simply stating, "It's important for you to check your legs and feet, everyday, to make sure you don't have any wounds, sores, or lesions" could increase the chances of the patient properly assessing their lower extremities and avoiding a diabetic ulcer.
As we are educating we must consider all factors. The patient's age, learning disabilities, even the patient's motivation and enthusiasm to learn. Would it be more beneficial to the patient if a caregiver or family member was given the teaching? Account for the time of day, the activities the patient has been involved in, or is scheduled to attend. If the patient is scheduled for physical therapy, at noon, it is more beneficial to teach in the morning, before therapy, rather than after when the patient is in pain and exhausted.
Ask the patient or cargiver their learning style. If they are a visual learner try to print off diagrams or pictures. (Explaining what slough, in a wound bed is, may be easier if you show a picture.) Minimize distractions by closing the door or turning the volume, on the TV, down. Speak in layman's terms.
Our ultimate goal is to give the patient or caregiver the tools to care for themselves, at home. The patient or caregiver should understand the importance of assuming the responsibility, once he or she leaves our care. Giving them goals and helping them to meet those goals will increase this. A simple goal of being able to identify signs and symptoms of hypertension, before he or she is discharged home, can make a significant difference in their way of life, at home.
We must remember that what we are taught, we have the responsibility to teach. Nursing was voted as the most trusted profession, because we are the direct link between our patients and their physicians. They depend on us and they trust us. We are the eyes, ears, and voice.