Free learning module for Nurses and Midwives: Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions


An e-module to help nurses and midwives develop their skills in communicating risks and benefits with their patients has been made freely available from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare.

The module, Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions: Communicating benefits and risks promotes shared decision making and risk communication in practice. It is currently available to members of some specialist colleges via their learning management systems.

‘Shared decision making underpins patient-centred care, which is a key dimension of safety and quality in health care,’ said Dr Robert Herkes, Commission Clinical Director.

The Commission has made the module open access because clinicians need to provide relevant and clear information about treatment options, including the potential benefits, risks, trade-offs and uncertainties of each option, to ensure patients can be actively involved in decisions about their health care.

‘Health decisions often have no single “best choice,” so patients, and their carers, often need to make complex decisions and choose from multiple options.’  Dr Herkes said.

Best practice  shared decision making is based on information that not only reflects the best available evidence but also takes into account the personal opinions, preferences, values and priorities of patients.

In addition to the module the Commission has released three short videos for clinicians on shared decision making. One provides an overview on shared decision making, the second challenges myths about shared decision making in practice and the third explains how to use patient decision aids and where to find them.

Check out the module on the Commissions website here. 

Do you know of other learning modules you think other nurses and midwives should do? Let us know in the comments!


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