The role and responsibility of nurses’

The role and responsibility of nurses’ as health educators is of great importance in the nursing field. Nurses educate patients and families not only on how to manage conditions that have already been diagnosed but also how to prevent other medical conditions from occurring. Teaching lifestyle changes to each patient is of great importance to manage and prevent further complications. Nurses’ have a great responsibility in educating patients and giving them the knowledge to properly care for themselves. According to Whitney (2018) “The nurse can improve patient satisfaction and outcomes by implementing quality educational interventions based on the patients’ specific educational needs” (Whitney, 2018, para. 20). It is the responsibility of the nurse to determine what the educational needs of the patient are and then educate the patient accordingly.

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There are many things to take into consideration when educating a patient. Just because a patient is literate does not mean that he/she fully understands the information that is being given to him/her. According to Whitney (2018) “They may be able to read and write but have difficulty understanding health-related information, such as discharge instructions, reading prescription labels, or scheduling follow-up appointments” (Whitney, 2018, para. 17). It is necessary to educate patients using language that is easy understand. Educating a patient should be done without distractions, if possible, so that his/her full attention remains on what is being taught. It is also important that the patient can tell the nurse in their own words their understanding of what has been taught so that the nurse is certain that the teaching was successful. Denault, Wilcox, Breda, & Duhamel (2019) states “Take ownership of your practice by telling patients that if they don’t understand their health information, it’s your responsibility to work with them until they do” (Denault, Wilcox, Breda, & Duhamel, 2019, para. 12). The patient must understand that the nurse is there for them and will take the time with them to be certain that he/she understands the teaching that is being provided.

Behavioral objectives are utilized when creating the care plan. Care plans are an important part of providing the best care for patients. According to Whitney (2018) “Nurses’ teaching efforts are not always successful. When nurses create behavioral objectives, it is based on the assumption that the patient is willing to change” (Whitney, 2018, para. 24). Although nurses have the best interest of the patient at heart, if the patient is unwilling to make the necessary changes the teaching provided may not be successful. It is imperative that a thorough assessment is obtained so that the behavioral objectives are appropriate for each individual patient.


Denault, D. L., Wilcox, S. M., Breda, K., & Duhamel, K.V. (2019). Teach-back: An underutilized tool. American Nurse Today, 14(6), 6-1. Retrieved from

Whitney, S. (2018). Grand Canyon University (Ed). Health promotion: Health & wellness across the continuum. Retrieved from


The role of the Registered Nurse as it pertains to a health educator is to implement evidence-based interventions and health counseling tailored to each patient individual needs. The nurse must first learn the patient needs during the assessment phase. Doing so the nurse will learn the barriers of the patient and how to overcome them by adjusting to their needs. The goal is to promote self-care which will in turn decrease the chances of a readmission to the hospital.

There are several models that can be used to provide a tailored care plan for patients. One of the very first models studied as a nurse is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s breaks down the basic needs of an individual that must be met for survival. The needs are physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self- actualization with physiological being the most important. If the basic physiological needs of air, water food, shelter and clothing aren’t met then it makes it difficult for the patient to adhere to health goals.

In every care plan the first thing a nurse must do is identify teaching strategies that will be best for the patient. Understanding the patient will aide in the behavioral objectives for the patient. Behavioral objectives are realistic expected changes in a patient to increase health promotion. (Whitney, S.).


Whitney, S. (2018). Health Promotion: Health and Wellness Across the Continuum. In Grand Canyon University(1st ed.). Retrieved from.

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