In the implementation phase, the health care professional puts into action the evidence-based teaching plan. 

Implementation Steps

  1. Implement teaching plan with the focus on the patient.
  2. Keep the key principles of patient education in mind when teaching.
  3. Adjust teaching based on patient’s response/changes in learning needs

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Implementation Steps Explanations/Examples/Scripts Ref List
1. Focus on the Patient    
Use plain language
  • Simple, direct message
  • Use common everyday language
  • Avoid medical jargon; if medical terms are needed, define the terms
“To check how your heart is working, you will have an echocardiogram today. An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to shows how well your heart is pumping blood. It is similar to when women have an ultrasound of their baby while pregnant.”
List 37
Use active listening skills Active listening skills include paying attention, withholding judgement, reflecting, clarifying, and summarizing. Be attuned to patient’s non-verbal cues/responses such as facial expressions, eye contact, body language. List 38
Identify "teachable moments" When patient asks questions or shows an interest in learning about their health, use this opportunity to teach. List 39
Maintain patient's self-esteem Be respectful, using empathetic tone and language. List 40
2. Key Principles of Patient Education    
Frame the message

Briefly, in 1 or 2 sentences, tell the patient what you will be teaching.

“Today we are going to talk about how to give an insulin shot.  It will include filling the syringe and injecting insulin.”

List 41

Educate in small segments and  verify understanding before moving onto next segment.

Chunk & Check (provide 1 or 2 points followed by checking if patient understands) 

Insulin Administration example:
Before teaching the patient how to inject insulin, be sure patient knows to how to accurately draw up insulin dose.

List 42
Reinforce teaching

Summarize/review key points.

Dressing Change example:

  1. Clean work area
  2. Gather supplies
  3. Wash hands
  4. Open packages
  5. Remove old dressing/discard
  6. Wash hands
  7. Apply new dressing
List 43
Ensure effective use of teaching resources
  • Highlight key information that patient should learn from the resource.
    • Mark written material with a highlighter
  • Make sure educational resource is easily accessible to patient (i.e. computer, smart phone, internet).
  • Review hands-on use of resource.
  • Provide pen/paper for writing down questions or taking notes if needed.
  • Follow up with patients after resource is used to address patient questions.
List 44
3. Adjust Teaching    
Address patient's questions
  • Encourage patient to ask questions.
  • Answer questions when asked.
  • Avoid deferring questions to end of teaching session.
List 45

If patient is not understanding information, try different words and/or analogies that are familiar to the patient.

When explaining a cardiac “pacemaker” to a car mechanic use a term that is more meaningful. For example, a pacemaker acts like a “sparkplug” to make the heart work.

In describing a blockage in the heart's arteries to a plumber, an analogy would be to compare it to a pipe that is partially clogged so the flow of water is prevented. 

List 46

Repeat demonstration/hands-on practice

Provide time for repeat demonstration and allow more hands-on practice, as needed. List 47
As needed, use more than one teaching method to clarify concepts and/or foster understanding Example: Patient is struggling to understand when to call doctor after viewing video. Staff engages with patient for 1 on 1 education on when to call the doctor. List 48


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