Education is impacted any time that the student (patient) does not understand what is being explained, so it is important for the instructor (nurse) to have multiple teaching styles and methodologies to ensure the information is clear and understood. Speaking with patients, while drawing pictures or diagrams, as well as giving them handouts to take home allows you to cover all but one type of learner. Understanding my patients view of health promotion and disease prevention helps guide me to what specific information the patient will need.
For example, A 21 year old male who smokes tobacco and has multiple sex partners informs me that he has no desire to quit smoking and refuses you to discuss the matter with me. Attempting to educate this patient on quitting smoking will do harm than good. The patient will be frustrated and possibly angry at me for not respecting his feelings, this could possibly damage our nurse-patient relationship of trust and understanding. In this case I will respect the patients right to smoke and spend my time educating him on sexually transmitted diseases and the importance of safe sex.
My 21 year old female tobacco smoker informs me that she would like to quit smoking but is having a hard time. In this situation I would speak with her about her difficulties quitting smoking, fears and anxieties. Provide information regarding medications that are available, programs and resources that are designed to help her, and other options like hypnosis and acupuncture. Understanding and being able to incorporate teaching principles, teaching methodologies, and learning styles are all very important in patient education and health promotion but it will do you little good if you do not have the patients buy in and willingness to change.