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Patient Teaching for the Correctional Nurse

One of the most important things we do as nurses is patient education, and we do it at every encounter with our patients.  In the correctional environment, it is perhaps even more important, as we care for individuals who research has shown have low health literacy. This has nothing to do with their ability to read and write; but rather their inability to understand health care information and what they need to do with that information. Many suffer from chronic illness, and know little about their disease process, medications, and self-care.  In addition, many of our patients do have reading and writing deficits.  For some of our patients, the time of incarceration is a time of substance-freedom, a time when they may be able to hear and comprehend the patient teaching the nurse is giving.  Patient education is not only providing information to our patients, it is assessing them for their educational needs, health concerns, readiness to learn, their preferences, their support, and their barriers and limitations to learning.  Thus, patient teaching in the correctional environment is a great opportunity to impact lives, and at the same time, an awesome responsibility.

In this class, we will discuss the principles of adult learning and specifically patient education techniques that can be used with our patients.  We will also review the steps to obtain patient education materials from the electronic health record used at the MDOC.