Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Steps on Meeting Patient’s Knowledge Needs

Specific steps in meeting knowledge needs:

1. Present all available options, including not making a change.

2. Present examples of others’ choices to help the patient understand there is no one best answer.

3. Provide statistics on variation in choice: e.g., how many people choose the different options that are available; differences in practitioners’ opinions; or differences in practice guidelines.

4. Provide rationale that underlies the differing opinions. Differences in choices can reflect scientific uncertainty, differences in people’s circumstances, tolerance for risk or uncertainty or their values.

5. Confirm patient’s understanding of information presented.

6. Give a balanced presentation of information; that is, not favouring one option over another.

7. Use a variety of educational methods to engage patient in learning (e.g., patient/patient or nurse/patient) and materials (e.g. written, visual, audio, etc.).

8. Base information on up-to-date, accurate evidence.

9. Present information in plain language to increase patient understanding.

10. Present probabilities to patient clearly using both words and numbers.

11. Tailor information.

12. Brainstorm with patient and answer questions.

13. Check patient understanding of information provided.

14. Assist patient to ask questions and raise concerns.


Chronic Disease
Decision Support for Adults Living with Chronic Kidney Disease
Point of Care Resources