Patient Education Coordinator

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Basic description

The patient education coordinator is responsible for educating patients about their disease, medications, and all aspects of care needed following hospitalization or a clinic visit. Patient education is intended to help patients and families cope with a crisis, gather information, learn self-care, and use attitudes and strategies to promote optimal health. Patients who are well informed about their own health actively make their own health care decisions, are more likely to have better health overall and enjoy a better quality of life, have fewer illness-related complications, tend to be more compliant with medication and treatment regimens, and are less likely to be a drain on diminishing health care resources. Opportunities are available to work in hospitals, clinics, schools, health care organizations, and home health agencies.

Educational requirements

Registered nurse preparation with Bachelor of Science in Nursing is required; a Master of Science in Nursing is preferred in most settings.

Core competencies/skills needed

■ Ability to teach and inspire others
■ Maturity and dependability
■ Excellent communication skills
■ Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams
■ Interest in teaching patients, and knowledgeable about pathophysiology and health promotion
■ Teaching patients to manage acute and chronic illness
■ Postoperative teaching
■ Planning health education programs
■ Preparation of teaching materials
■ Development of patient teaching plans in a form that is readily understood by the patient and pertinent to their unique circumstances

Related Web sites and professional organizations

■ Health Care Education Association (www.hcea-info.org/)
■ National Council on Patient Information and Education (www.talkaboutrx.org/)
■ Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (www.uncc.edu/achne/)
■ United States Department of Health and Human Services (www.hhs.gov/)

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