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Patient education is an important role in nursing profession which requires the nurses to think critically. The nurse is no longer responsible for administering medications and communicating with physicians. Nurses also have a dynamic role to play in ensuring that the patient can independently manage with his or her disease when out of the hospital. There is however no uniform teaching strategy for the patients but it is important to focus on some aspects when deciding on the best way to present the information to patients. Some of the factors to consider when deciding on the teaching method include the timing. For example it is not good to start informing the patient immediately after diagnosis. This is because the patient needs to cope with the information about his or her diagnosis, firstly. The other factor is teachable moments. This is important for patients who are undergoing various therapies such as dialysis (Shors, 2004). The other factor is emphasis on what information is necessary and also having clearly defined goals and objectives. This essay looks at an example of a creative way to present information to patients and how this method contributes to critical thinking.
Use of discussions as a patient teaching method
Use of discussion to present information to patients can have very rewarding outcomes. This is because the method allows the educator to stimulate critical thinking. Moreover, it involves establishing a rapport with the patients where the nurse will demonstrate that he or she appreciates their contributions while at the same time stimulating the patients to think deeply and to articulate their ideas. Critical thinking can also be stimulated by frequently asking questions either by the nurse or the patient. These questions also help in measuring the level of learning and also in exploring in-depth the key concepts of the discussion topic.
In order to ensure critical thinking during discussions, it is important to choose the best time for the discussion and also the best moments so that there can be full participation by the patients. The nurse should also have clearly set goals and a plan for the discussion session. Some of the important things to do during the discussion include summarizing the major ideas and putting them in a language that patients can understand. This is to ensure that the patients are able to pick up the major ideas and understand their significance. The nurse should also combine discussion with other methods such as lectures while introducing complex topics. This involves briefly talking about the topic before welcoming contributions from the patients. During the discussion, the nurse should allow patients to respond to other patient’s contributions as they give their views (Glanz, Rimer & Lewis, 2002).
How discussions stimulate critical thinking in patients
Discussions and debates are among some of teaching techniques that can promote critical thinking. This is because it involves some characteristics of critical thinking such as argument, reasoning and point of view through exposing the patients to various options from which to make a choice. One of the ways in which discussion stimulates critical thinking is by allowing negotiation where the patients will be confronted with two credible but antagonistic situations where they will be challenged to deal with the tension between those two arguments. This tension is one of the driving forces for critical thinking as they try to figure out which one is the best. For example, in a group of diabetes patients, the nurse wants to inform them the recommended meal frequency in a day. One of the stated benefits of spreading out meals in a day is that the patient may not get hungry before meals and this also makes it easier to avoid overeating (American Diabetes Association, 2012). On the other hand, this may also be achieved by having three large meals a day. However, patients may prefer three large meals due to the convenience and some may also argue that the end results are same. These two arguments may stimulate negotiation by each patient considering his or her own factors. This may therefore stimulate critical thinking as each patient tries to figure out means which gives the best end results (Deakin et al., 2005).
Another way in which discussion promotes critical thinking is by enabling the patients to observe the reasoning skills of each other. For example during discussions, the nurse can ask each patient to explain loudly how they have reached the conclusion regarding the meals frequency for diabetics. Each patient can mention the factors that they considered when making the decision and also how they reasoned out the case. While others listen, they are stimulated to think critically when they hear an important factor that they do not consider during their reasoning. The patients will therefore be stimulated to critically think of what they left out when making the decisions (Youngblood & Beitz, 2002).
At the end of the discussion, the nurse may explain his or her points and also the reasoning skills to the patients. The patients may in turn be stimulated to think critically as they reflect on the best reasoning that is offered by the nurse.
By allowing negotiations, contributions and listening to each other, discussion method can stimulate critical thinking, furthermore can allow better learning by the patients. It will also promote participation and reflection since each patient will be allowed to take part in the discussion. Discussion is therefore a creative way of presenting information to patients when is done at the right time and in the right moment.