OBJECTIVES: To review the basic principles of patient education, models of innovative approaches to patient education, and needs for future development in patient education. DATA SOURCES: Review articles, research studies, book chapters, personal communication, and standards pertaining to cancer pain education. CONCLUSIONS: Patient education based on principles of effective teaching and learning is the cornerstone of effective pain management. Improved methods of patient teaching combined with novel approaches to delivering appropriate pain content can lead to enhanced patient compliance with the prescribed pain medication regimen. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses are essential to improving the care of cancer patients in pain by providing patient education as a care component of professional nursing practice. The challenge remains to overcome significant barriers of limited time and resources to achieve these goals.
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