Way back our nursing student days; I can still recall how well-known the word “health teaching” was. Every time we have our hospital duty, we always write health teachings given with emphasis on: blah,blah,blah at the bottom part of our nurse’s notes. Some write as many as they can. The more health teachings you jot down, the better. In order to impress the clinical instructor or you just feel like writing what you want. But there were also honest SN’s who will only write health instructions they have passed on to their clients. However, there are some who will just copy previous nurse’s notes with no sweat at all! It is part of our role as a nurse to impart health teachings. Giving health information clearly can help erase someone’s fear of the unknown. Health teaching is applicable not only in hospital setting, but also in community. During our community health nursing exposure, we were taught to impart health teachings. It might be in front of many people or one on one basis. We performed microteaching, mother’s class and home visits in order to educate the community people. Health teaching is not new to us. Nurses mastered this job which requires communication skills.
Health teachings play a significant role in health promotion and disease prevention. So, how will you impart health teachings effectively?
- Establish trust and rapport to your clients. We will go back to the basic. This is the first step in order to provide useful health learning to them. If they don’t trust you, there’s a tendency they will give excuses and they will not listen attentively. This will lead to miscommunication and ineffective health teachings. You will waste your time and effort.
- Provide honest and helpful information. They will show interest in listening if you’re presenting reality and good examples. Giving false reassurance is a big NO.
- Serve as a role model. You should put into practice what you teach. They will look at nurses as health leaders. Your health practice may make or break. They might follow your good health habits or the other way around.
- Be a good listener. You have to entertain their opinions, questions or clarifications. It is important to confirm if the clients truly understand what you said. It is useless if they have unanswered questions and they’re still in doubt. Please provide truthful answers.
I will share with you my personal experience why I can say health teaching is a must. It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning. I’m very prepared to talk about HYPERTENSION to the people of the Barangay I am assigned to. I’m glad a lot of folks came in to listen. I used visual aid and examples during my discussion. After I have done my part, I asked them to raise questions. A 70 year old male stood up and told me: “Ma’am I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and even experienced mild stroke”, he shared. “I was told by the Doctor to take my hypertensive medications as maintenance. My problem is, I’m afraid to drink my medications because I believe it will lead to blood loss “he exclaimed worriedly. For me it’s funny but it made me realized it’s a sad reality. A lot of people need health education. I explained and illustrated what will happen to the blood vessels of a hypertensive person. I’m glad it gave him life-changing perception. As of now, he visits the Barangay Health Station regulary for BP Monitoring, he takes his meds. and he will go to the Rural Health Unit every month in order to get his one month supply of meds. See? Health teachings can make a difference.