Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Patient Education Strategies

  • Strategies to help the nurse engage in effective client education include:
    • Being aware that clients may have low or limited literacy skills. This affects how well they can understand verbal and written communication.
    • Speaking and writing clearly, using familiar words without jargon, using simple definitions of medical terms that the client needs to understand, and using examples that relate to the client’s experiences.
    • Repeating key messages several times, and using different ways to present the information (e.g., talking, looking at pictures, watching a video, using models, or using the computer).
    • Interacting with printed information to reinforce what is being taught including writing the client’s name on the material, underlining or highlighting important information or the answers to the client’s questions; and sending printed information home with the client.
    • Including a family member or support person (with the client’s permission) when teaching.
    • Assessing the client’s recall and comprehension at the end of the encounter by asking the client to restate the main concepts and what he or she will do.
    • Developing client “plain language” education materials that are specific to the client’s needs. Nurses can consult with other members of the health care team to contribute to and/or review the material.
    • Providing a contact number in the event the client or caregiver has further questions
    • Documenting what you taught, what materials you gave, and the client’s response.
Clinical Management
Care and Maintenance to Reduce Vascular Access Complications
Client and Family Education