Barriers to patient education and their relationship to nurses’ perceptions of patient education climate

Yael Livne, Ilana Peterfreund, Janna Sheps


A core component of patient-centered care is effective patient education. Although it is a part of professional nursing and has been found to promote high-quality healthcare, its implementation is often deficient. This study responds to the need for theory-based research on health communication and aims to provide a theoretical framework for understanding nurses’ barriers to patient education. Drawing on organizational climate theory, the study examines two possible predictors of barriers to effective patient education, namely nurses’ perceptions of patient education climate, and of their role as patient educators. The hypotheses were tested using a cross-sectional correlational design with a sample of 328 nurses from 26 units in one general hospital. Data were obtained by means of questionnaires. The results supported our hypotheses, as each predicting variable was significantly related to the relevant barriers to patient education: i.e. patient education climate perceptions predicted the barriers of overload, lack of policies, and low priority, whereas role perception predicted the barriers of difficulty in communication with patients, insufficient professional knowledge and skills, and the belief that educating patients was not the nurse’s responsibility. To conclude, this study attributes the concept of patient education to organizational climate theory and, thus, may offer a theoretical framework for understanding the reluctance of hospital nurses to provide their patients with effective education. Practical implications for reducing barriers to patient education are discussed.

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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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