Pharmacology: Teaching the Patient About Drugs
One of the important responsibilities of a nurse is to teach patients and their families about the types of medications that are administered to or self-administered by the patient. When ever a patient or family is being taught about medications they should be in a comfortable environment. It is critical that everyone involved be able to understand clearly without any language barriers. Charts, graphs, audio and video aids can help to explain information. A nurse should remember that the patient and the family is not familiar with medical terminology and simple descriptive words should be used in place of medical terminology when possible. Avoid rushing through the information and always allow time for questions and answers. If possible, have information available for the patient and family members to take home. This gives them information to refer to in case they forget what was discussed in your meeting. Always provide information that is at the appropriate reading level so that all of the information can be understood.
Besides basic information about the drugs it is a good idea to demonstrate how the patient or family should administer the medication. This is very useful to patients who require insulin injections or asthma inhalers. A nurse should never assume that the patient or family member is capable or comfortable administering the medication after observing it being done. The patient and family members should show the nurse how they would administer the medications themselves. This is especially important for patients and family who must administer medications using a syringe, topical drugs and inhalers. The nurse should ensure that the patient and the caregiver have visual acuity, manual dexterity, and the mental ability to prepare and administer the medications correctly.