If you're a student nurse, you've probably been told that nurses do more than take their patient's temperatures and change bed linens. They also educate their patients about conditions, diagnoses, treatment and even prognoses. Nurses are being taught to design teaching plans for patients in much the same way that teachers design lesson plans for students. For patient teaching plans, the goals are to set clear learning objectives and explain in detail how you intend to help the patient achieve them.

Step 1

Check your nursing textbook to see if it specifies the contents that must be included in your teaching plan. Many textbooks suggest the following contents: learning objectives, teaching method, time frame and evaluation, but you can customize these.

Step 2

Find out how to tailor a plan to specific conditions. For example, nurse practitioner and owner of the Lehigh Valley Nurse Wellness Center, Louise Diehl-Oplinger, suggests that a patient care plan for diabetics include a six-day program of group discussions on topics like blood glucose monitoring. She also suggests that the plan teach patients how to cope with diabetes in their everyday life and why they should make exercise part of their daily routine.

Step 3

Start with anticipated learning outcomes that specify content and length of time. For example, you might say that by the end of the second appointment, the patient will be able to explain why bed rest is an essential component in caring for high risk pregnancies.

Step 4

Anticipate the questions your patient might ask and provide answers. For example, you might say that you anticipate the patient with back pain will ask why the doctor is not scheduling him for an MRI. Prepare an answer that explains why doctors treating patients with muscle pains take a conservative path at first, hoping the pain will subside with rest and over-the-counter medications.

Step 5

Specify a teaching method. Explain whether there will be doctor or nurse instruction, as well as group discussion. Identify the number of teaching sessions, the content of each and the length of time you anticipate each will take.

Step 6

Decide on benchmarks for learning outcomes. These should be specific statements on exactly what behavior you will look for to determine that the patient has absorbed the material. For example, you might say that by the end of the first week, the patient will know how to perform flexion-extension exercises on her own.

Step 7

Finally, add medication teaching to the patient plan. The department of nursing at The University of Connecticut Health Center suggests that patients should be able to explain why they are taking the medicine, its dosage, frequency and instructions.