Teaching nursing students to provide effective heart failure patient education using a peer teaching strategy

Margaret A. Avallone, E. Renee Cantwell


Background/objective: Prelicensure nursing students possess minimal knowledge, skills, and confidence to provide effective, patient-centered transitional heart failure (HF) education to patients. This article evaluates a unique educational intervention designed to prepare nursing students to be more effective HF patient educators upon graduation.

Methods: A pretest, posttest design and survey was used to evaluate a three-hour educational program. This program was offered to three different groups of students between Fall 2013 and Spring 2016. Eighteen fourth-semester students trained as peer teachers helped present program content to 66 second-semester Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABS) nursing students. Resources from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) materials were used as the curricular guide. The program consisted of a HF didactic session, case study, role-play, and simulation activities.

Results: Second-semester students demonstrated improvement in identifying essential elements of HF patient education, from 45.8% to 86%, and the ability to perform Teach-back increased from 43% to 86% (p < .001). Confidence in patient education skills and Teach-Back technique increased from 17% to 94% (p < .001).

Conclusions: Using fourth-semester peer teachers to facilitate education provides an effective and satisfying way for the second semester students to practice new techniques through role-play. The HF peer teaching program is highly adaptable to prepare prelicensure nursing students to educate patients and families on a wide variety of chronic illnesses across the healthcare continuum.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v7n2p84

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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