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UCLA Department of Nursing


UCLA awarded designation as National Magnet Hospital
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center designated
National Magnet Hospital

UCLA awarded designation as National Magnet Hospital
UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica designated
National Magnet Hospital

Patient Engagement

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Teach Back is an evidence based approach to patient education. Providing equitable, safe, quality health care depends on our ability to communicate clearly and effectively to our patients and families throughout the care continuum. The Department of Nursing Practice, Education and Research recognize that health literacy principles and the use of Teach Back methods empower the patient-provider communication to improve health outcomes by reducing medical errors and facilitating shared decision making.

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What is Health Literacy?

The most widely used definition of health literacy focuses on how well an individual can succeed at getting, understanding, and using health information and services.

"Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."

What is Teach-back?

  • Assures that the health care provider explained information clearly. It is not a test or quiz for patients.
  • Asking a patient/family to explain in their own words what they need to know or do.
  • A way to check for understanding and, if needed, re-explain and check again.
  • A research-based health literacy intervention that improves patient-provider communication and patient health outcomes.

What are the benefits to using Teach Back?

  • Puts the onus on the healthcare provider.
  • Able to identify knowledge gaps and obstacles to a safe discharge.
  • Allows time to find resources that will rectify the gaps and obstacles to a safe discharge.
  • Allows time for patient and family to demonstrate/ practice skill and new knowledge before going home.


Teach Back Toolkit

The purpose of the Teach Back Toolkit is to enable the learner to effectively communicate, with the use plain language, information and services needed for safe, quality patient care, especially during transitions between health care settings. The Joint Commission analysis of sentinel events from 1994-2013 reveals that a failure of communication was the most frequent problem leading to errors, injury and death. Nursing is the front line of communication for and with patients.

Take a look at the Evidence for using Teach Back



Examples of Teach-back in patient education scenarios

For questions, contact:
Jill Scherrey, MSN, RN-BC
Nursing Professional Development Specialist
Department of Nursing Research & Education

Revised 8/2016


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