Episode 259: Patient Education for Health Literacy and Limited English Proficiency

“I think there’s a big misconception that health literacy means someone’s ability to read or write, and really it’s much more than that,” ONS member Regina Carlisle, MS, BSN, RN, OCN®, senior cancer information nurse at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, OH, and member of the Cleveland ONS Chapter, told Jaime Weimer, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC, AOCNS®, oncology clinical specialist at ONS. Carlisle discussed developing and providing patient education across various formats for patients with limited English proficiency. You can earn free NCPD contact hours by completing the evaluation we’ve linked in the episode notes.

Music Credit: “Fireflies and Stardust” by Kevin MacLeod

Licensed under Creative Commons by Attribution 3.0

Earn 0.5 contact hours of nursing continuing professional development (NCPD) by listening to the full recording and completing an evaluation at myoutcomes.ons.org by May 12, 2025. The planners and faculty for this episode have no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies to disclose. ONS is accredited as a provider of NCPD by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Learning outcome: The learner will report an increase in knowledge related to providing education for patients with limited English proficiency.

Episode Notes

To discuss the information in this episode with other oncology nurses, visit the ONS Communities.

To provide feedback or otherwise reach ONS about the podcast, email pubONSVoice@ons.org.

Highlights From Today’s Episode

“I think there’s a big misconception that health literacy means someone’s ability to read or write, and really it’s much more than that. There are two basic definitions of health literacy—we have personal health literacy and organizational health literacy.” Timestamp (TS) 01:48

“The best practice is to apply this approach called health literacy universal precautions to all your encounters with any patients or family members. So just as you would use proper personal protective equipment if you were encountering body fluids, you’re going to use those universal precautions as you don’t know what you’re dealing with—the same is true for encounters with health literacy.” TS 08:16

“There are international best practices that really advise against using family or staff for translations because they might not know the medical terminology, or you might be putting them in an uncomfortable situation. Plus, there might be cultural norms or family dynamics that affect that conversation, and they affect how the information is delivered between you, the family member, and the patient. It can really muddy the waters.” TS 18:50

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