Patient compliance and patient education

This article discusses Patient compliance and patient education.

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Sample Question

Write a short paragraph response for each question.

  1. Define patient compliance and explain its importance in your field.
  2. Identify the health care professionals’ role in compliance and give examples of ways in which the health care professional may actually contribute to noncompliance.
  3. Compare compliance and collaboration.
  4. Compare and contrast patient education in the past with that practiced today.
  5. Explain the importance of professional commitment in developing patient education as a clinical skill.
  6. Explain the three categories of learning and how they can be used in patient education.
  7. List three problems that may arise in patient education and how they would be solved?
  8. List some methods of documentation of patient education.

Sample Answer

Patient compliance is the level at which the patients’ conduct or behavior adheres to the clinician’s advice and subscribe to the authority of the healthcare professional. Patient compliance is crucial to enhance patient outcomes, minimize health complications and in preventing hospital readmissions. Additionally, compliance is important in reducing mortality and the cost of healthcare (Beena & Jose, 2013).

The role of healthcare professionals in patient compliance includes providing adequate information to the client regarding the treatment. Additionally, the healthcare professionals should educate the patient to facilitate compliance. Some examples in which the healthcare professionals may cause noncompliance includes being rude to patient, failure to provide adequate information to the patient, and poor communication (Kreofsky, 2013).    

Compliance essentially refers to the extent of observing or following advice from healthcare professional concerning treatment.  In this case, compliance considers the clinician as the authority that the patient should obey. Collaboration is concerned with formation of an effective partnership between a patient and clinician to facilitate compliance with the intervention (Beena & Jose, 2013)..

There is distinction between patient education in the past and present. In the past, the healthcare professional was the authority. In this case, patient was supposed to adhere to the advice provided by the clinician. Currently, patient education is more collaborative, where clinician aims at forming a therapeutic relationship with the clients, by involving them in the process.

Professional commitment is important while developing patient education to enable development of a patient centered content to address the individual healthcare needs of patients. Patient education should be specific to the client needs and be respectful to the literacy levels. Additionally, it should be created in a manner that is easy for the patient to understand and manipulate the information provided (Cramer, 2009). 

The three categories of learning are cognitive, affective and psychomotor (Kreofsky, 2013). Cognitive mainly involves development   of intellectual skills. In patient education, cognitive domain can be applied in enabling the client recall facts, including procedures of taking medications and self-care.  Affective is concerned with development of feelings and attitude including personal confidence and beliefs in self-care. Psychomotor is concerned with development of manual or physical skills. It can be used to enhance the capacity of the patient to take care of health needs, such as exercises.

The problems that could occur in patient education include language barriers, functional impairments and environmental barriers such as noise. Language barriers could be addressed by using interpreters.  Functional impairments such as visual and audio impairments on the side of the patient could be addressed by using appropriate teaching methods such as large fonts, audio recording among others. Environmental barriers could be addressed by undertaking the lessons in a quiet and comfortable setting, with proper ventilation and lighting.

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Patient compliance and patient education
Patient compliance and patient education

Some of the methods of documenting patient education include teaching plans, audio recordings and electronic health records. Teaching plans indicates the various elements of patient education, including the objectives, resources and evaluation to determine the patient understanding. Electronic health records as an approach of documenting patient education comprise a wide range of applications supporting patient care, including training.


Beena , J., & Jose, J.(2013). Patient medication adherence: measures in daily practice. Oman  Medical Journal, 26(3): 155-159.

Cramer, J.A.(2009). Enhancing patient compliance in the elderly. Role of packaging aids and monitoring. Drugs Aging, 12:7–15

Kreofsky, L.(2013).  Engaging staff to engage patients: patient engagement is essential for    meaningful use, and studies show it is becoming more definitively linked to consumer   satisfaction. Health Manag Technol, 34(2):12–13.

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