Teaching Moments for Registered Nurses

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 9:10 AM

Teresa Kuta Reske, MSN, MPA, RN
Baystate Health, Springfield, MA
Sheila Rucki, PhD, PCNS, BC
American International College, Springfield, MA

Learning Objective 1: identify strategies to engage patients in "teaching moments."

Learning Objective 2: discuss reasons why clincal practice registered nurses miss opportunities to engage patients in learning.

 Teaching Moments for Registered Nurses

The goal of this study was to explore why clinical practice registered nurses omit certain nursing tasks or actions such as patient education opportunities by investigating the confluence of the knowledge needed to increase those nursing actions for patient satisfaction. 


If nurses are to be active participants in how they engage patients in opportunities for “teaching moments,” then they require skills to ideally facilitate knowledge-sharing, patient readiness and timeliness for the patient experience.  Nurses may not be aware of missed opportunities during daily patient care.

Theoretical perspective:

This study builds on Ida Orlando Pelletier’s theory to keep the nurse's focus on the patient.  The immediate experience of the patient in a nurse-patient contact is to appropriately recognize the patient's verbal and nonverbal behavior during times when the nurse interacts with the patient for care.


Data collection occurred through fieldwork on a complex medical unit in  major medical center using a convenience sample of twelve registered nurses who voluntarily agreed to interviews, June through August 2007. 


The nurse-patient exchange is an important aspect of hospitalized patients.  Patient perceptions of expectations when registered nurses share information are based upon the patient’s observations of meaningful interactions.  For nurses, the missed opportunities for teaching moments require changing their behaviors to create learning opportunities remembered by patients as having their needs met.


Nurses are ideally situated through their continued interactions with the patient to encompass the broad domain of the patient experiences for “teaching moments.” Once aware of opportunities for engagement, patient satisfaction with the quality of care increased.

Relevance to clinical practice:

Nursing leaders and educators contribute by developing professional learning opportunities so that nurses recognize and take action for “teaching moments.”  Patients are recipients of quality care.