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Background: Nurses are a majority of the healthcare workforce and they spend more time with patients and their families. Thus patient education is an important nursing role, yet it is sometimes neglected.
Aim: This study was conducted to assess nurses’ practice of patient education in clinical settings and to explore their perception of how this could be facilitated in their hospitals.
Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional study design was employed for this study. A sample of 140 nurses, purposively selected from 4 main hospitals in Fako division of the South West Region of Cameroon took part in the study. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and analysed descriptively, with the aid of SPSS version 17.0.
Results: Most of the study participants were females (89.3%) and a majority (75%) were between the ages of 18-35. Most of the nurses (65.7%) had a Diploma in nursing. A good number of them (73.6%) had worked between 1-9 years. Most participants (60.0%) reported that their patient teaching activities were predominantly informal. They reported mostly teaching patients about: their next appointments (70.7%), how to continue their drug therapy (68.6%) and where and how to dispose of their waste while in hospital (60.7%). An inappropriate patient environment was reported to hinder effective patient teaching.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that if nurses are provided with educational aids, patients’ education process guidelines, refresher courses on patient education, and some supervision during the teaching process, patient teaching practice could be enhanced.
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