How Nurses Can Improve Health Literacy

Nurses play an integral role in the health of their patients. As the first line of defense, nurses are tasked with providing care to those in need and educating them on how to manage their health and wellness. Health literacy is an integral part of this education, as it allows patients to understand their own healthcare decisions and take control of managing their well-being. So, how can nurses best improve health literacy? Let’s explore four ways nursing leaders have shared to improve patient health literacy.

1. Provide Simple Explanations

It can be challenging to explain complex medical concepts in a way that is easy to understand. To overcome this challenge, nursing leaders suggest providing simple explanations by breaking down complex topics into smaller, easier-to-understand pieces of information. For example, instead of discussing diabetes as one large concept, break it down into individual aspects such as diet, exercise, and medications. By doing so, patients will be better able to comprehend and apply the presented information to their daily lives.

2. Use Visual Aids

Visual aids can effectively explain complicated medical topics. For example, visual diagrams or pictures can provide a more engaging way for patients to learn about their conditions or treatments than verbal explanations alone. Additionally, visuals can help prevent confusion due to miscommunication between patient and nurse.

Tips for visuals:

  • Use visuals that are easy to understand and not overly complex.
  • Make sure the visuals are high-quality and accurate.
  • Explain the visuals as you go.

These visuals can be combined with verbal explanations to ensure that patients understand their medical care.

3. Ask Questions

Asking questions is a great way for nurses to gauge a patient’s understanding level and identify areas where additional information or clarification may be needed. This helps ensure that all areas are covered and that the patient fully understands what was discussed before leaving the appointment or hospital stay. For example, nurses may ask questions such as “Do you understand the medication you will be taking?” and “Do you have any questions about your condition or treatment?”

4. Offer Patient Resources

One final suggestion from leading nursing experts is offering resources outside the doctor’s office that patients can access if they have any questions or need further information after leaving. This could include online resources such as websites or videos related to the topic at hand or even printed materials such as pamphlets or brochures with additional information on specific topics related to a patient’s condition or treatment plan. The goal is to provide patients with a source of reliable information they can use beyond the doctor’s office.

Healthcare professionals play an invaluable role in helping people understand their health conditions and treatments through improved health literacy education techniques such as those outlined above. If you’re a nurse looking for opportunities that fit your life goals and career aspirations, look no further than Actriv Healthcare! Contact us today to learn more about short- and long-term nursing assignments and how we can help you find the perfect job.

By working together, nurses and Actriv Healthcare can make a difference in the lives of patients, families, and communities. We look forward to working with you!