Nursing in the U.S.A

World's Nurses Improve Patient Access to Information about Health and Medicine

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Citing clear evidence that informed patients respond better to treatment and report greater satisfaction with their care, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) launched a new program to step up the profession’s commitment to patient education and information.

"Nurses have always played an important role in patient education, but there has never before been such convincing evidence of the positive effects of good patient information on preventing illness and improving treatment outcomes," said Judith Oulton, ICN's chief executive officer. "A strong nurse-patient relationship fosters greater information sharing and supports patients in choosing the health options that best meet their needs," she added.

ICN made public a new position statement on informed patients based on a growing body of literature that suggests informed patients are more likely to:

- Have better treatment outcomes;

- Adopt and adhere to preventive measures more willingly;

- Ably self-diagnose and treat minor ailments;

- Know the warning signs of serious illness and seek professional health care services sooner;

- Follow instructions better with less misuse or abuse of medicines; and

- Ask questions when they do not understand a doctor, nurse or pharmacist's instructions.

The new ICN position statement affirms that every patient has a right to accessible, timely, accurate, understandable and evidence-based information about health and medicine. It also explains that patients have the right to know as much or as little about their health status or choices as they want, and that each individual has the right to choose how to manage his or her own health.

Source: International Council of Nurses