NRS 429 Topic 1 DQ: The nurse’s role and responsibility as health educator

NRS 429 Topic 1 DQ: The nurse’s role and responsibility as health educator

Describe the nurse’s role and responsibility as health educator. What strategies, besides the use of learning styles, can a nurse educator consider when developing tailored individual care plans, or for educational programs in health promotion? When should behavioral objectives be utilized in a care plan or health promotion?

The Nurse’s Essential Role in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Discussion 1

Nurses should avoid making assumptions based solely on a patient’s literacy skills, which encompass the ability to read and write. Literacy alone does not guarantee a patient’s health literacy, which involves comprehending complex medical terminology and health information presented by nurses. Furthermore, patients who may not have had formal schooling can still be receptive to in-depth health education (Whitney, 2018).

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One crucial opportunity for nurses to deliver the most current and relevant education arises when patients demonstrate a genuine desire to take responsibility for their health and well-being, both for themselves and their loved ones. Nurses should seize these moments to provide education that is current and well-suited to the individual’s specific needs. Additionally, when patients exhibit behaviors or express the belief that they can work towards their own health-related goals, nurses play a pivotal role in facilitating the achievement of desired educational outcomes (Whitney, 2018).


Whitney, S. (2018). Teaching and learning styles. In Health promotion: Health & wellness across the continuum. (Chapter 1). Grand Canyon University.

Discussion 2

The primary focus should be on ensuring that patients are well-informed about the information provided and its significance in maintaining their health. This knowledge empowers patients to engage in continuous self-management of their care, which can extend to other healthcare-related interactions and appointments. As Heath (2017) emphasizes, “Clinicians must follow a series of steps before providing patient education materials to ensure that the strategies used are tailored to the individual patient.” Before implementing any educational strategies, it is crucial for patients to be prepared and willing to learn and make beneficial changes. Evaluating their current knowledge level serves as a fundamental step in the process of health education. It is essential to leverage any existing health literacy that patients possess.

Understanding health literacy is a key factor in helping patients enhance their health through accessible resources. Online research reveals that low health literacy correlates with a decreased inclination to utilize health resources compared to individuals with higher health literacy (Heath, 2017). When health literacy is minimal or absent, introducing definitions of key terms and concepts related to their health can serve as a catalyst. Another critical juncture is encouraging patients to articulate their understanding of the information, explaining it back to the nurses in their own words. This method involves presenting a topic or concept, followed by the patient’s demonstration or explanation of the information in their own terms. Various instructional materials can be employed, including one-on-one teaching, demonstrations, analogies, graphics, printed materials, podcasts, videos, PowerPoints, or group discussions.

The choice of instructional method should be tailored to the patient’s preferences. Teaching patients about health-related technology is of paramount importance to enable them to access information from the comfort of their homes. “Using an online interface, patient portals grant access to lab results, medical histories, and a plethora of other health information. Clinicians who practice OpenNotes, a philosophy where clinicians digitally share their appointment notes with patients, can provide patients with detailed and specific health guidance during each office visit” (Heath, 2017). Online strategies allow patients to access their records anytime and anywhere. With continuous access to their records, patients can proactively work on improving their health without needing frequent doctor visits. Healthcare providers should leverage patients’ existing health literacy, readiness to learn, understanding of teaching methods, available resources, and awareness of teaching strategies to provide effective education.


Heath, S. (2017 April 27). 4 Patient Education Strategies That Drive Patient Activation. Patient Engagement Hit.

Discussion 3

During health education sessions, the nurse engages in a crucial process known as patient needs assessment. This assessment involves a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s requirements and concerns, and it often extends to the patient expressing their fears regarding their health risk behaviors. The needs assessment serves as a pivotal step, enabling healthcare programs to pinpoint opportunities for health promotion and disease prevention initiatives, while also identifying potential obstacles and devising appropriate strategies to overcome them (Rural Information Hub, 2018).

Following the needs assessment, the nurse proceeds to plan health education that is precisely tailored to address the identified needs of the patient. This educational process involves the use of clear and straightforward language to ensure the patient’s complete comprehension. The nurse takes on the role of educating the patient about the consequences and health-related issues associated with their identified risk behavior. Moreover, the nurse provides the patient with recommendations for preventive actions, drawing from evidence-based practices.

To further enhance the effectiveness of health education, the nurse leverages various health promotion theories and models, aligning them with the patient’s individual learning styles. This personalized approach ensures that the educational content resonates with the patient, increasing the likelihood of successful comprehension and the adoption of healthier behaviors.


Rural Health Information Hub, (2018). Rural Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Toolkit: The Health Belief Model.

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