Nursing diagnosis – DEFICIENT KNOWLEDGE



Absence or deficiency of cognitive information related to a specific



• Inability to follow through with directions

• Inability to perform well on a test

• Inappropriate or exaggerated behaviors (hysteria, hostility,

agitation, apathy)

• Verbalization of the problem


• Cognitive limitation

• Lack of recall

• Information misinterpretation

• Unfamiliarity with information

• Lack of exposure


• Lack of interest in learning

ASSESSMENT FOCUS    (Refer  to  comprehensive  assessment  parameters.)

• Activity

• Nutrition

• Communication

• Sleep

• Coping

• Values/beliefs

• Knowledge


The patient will

• Communicate desire to understand disease state and need for


• Demonstrate ability to perform new health-related procedures.

• Set realistic learning goals within target dates.

• State intention to make needed modifications in lifestyle.


Cognition; Concentration; Information Processing; Knowledge: Dis-

ease Process; Knowledge; Health Behaviors; Knowledge: Health

Resources; Knowledge: Illness Care; Stress Level


Determine: Determine level of knowledge and skills patient already

possesses about his or her health status; motivation to understand

what is needed to improve health status; obstacles to learning; sup-

port systems; usual coping patterns; beliefs about health and treat-

ment of disease; ethnicity; financial resources. Assessment informa-

tion will assist in identifying appropriate interventions.

Perform: Establish an environment of mutual trust and respect to

enhance learning. Consistency between action and words, combined

with the patient’s self-awareness ability to share this awareness with

others, and receptiveness to new experiences form the basis of a

trusting relationship.

Develop with patient specific learning goals with target dates.

Involving patient in planning meaningful goals encourages


Select teaching strategies that will enhance teaching/learning effec-

tiveness, such as discussion, demonstration, role-playing, and visual

materials. Provide all the equipment needed for the patient to learn.

This reduces frustration, aids learning, and minimizes dependence by

promoting self-care.

Inform: Teach those skills that the patient must incorporate into

daily living. Have patient do return demonstration of each skill to

aid in gaining confidence.

When teaching, go slowly and repeat frequently. Offer small

amounts of information and present it in various ways. By building

cognition, patient will be better able to complete self-care measures.

Include family members.
Demonstrate to family members how each self-care measure is

broken down into simple tasks to enhance patient’s success and fos-

ter a sense of control.

Attend: Encourage family members to participate in and have

patience toward learning process (patient may need to repeat new

skills multiple times) to help create a therapeutic environment after


Manage: Have patient incorporate learned skills into care while still

in the hospital. This allows practice and time for feedback.

Provide patient and/or family with names and telephone numbers

of resource people or community agencies so that care is continuous

and follow-up is possible after discharge.

If financial hardship interferes with the ability of the family to

provide equipment and supplies, offer a referral to a social worker

to improve the family’s access to financial assistance.


Behavior Management; Behavior Modification; Decision-Making

Support; Energy Management; Family Support; Financial Resource

Assistance; Health Education; Healthcare Information Exchange:

Risk Identification; Learning Facilitation; Support System Enhance-

ment; Teaching Procedure/Treatment


Shen, Q., et al. (2006, May–June). Evaluation of a medication education pro-

gram for elderly hospitalized inpatients. Geriatric Nursing, 27(3), 184–192.