The term nursing diagnosis refers to a taxonomy of standardized nursing language developed by NANDA to allow nurses to identify patient issues in a way that can be consistently communicated across clinical settings. The knowledge deficit nursing diagnosis describes an actual or potential problem that occurs because a patient lacks the knowledge to do something in particular. A nurse doesn't make medical diagnoses, but she is expected to identify nursing diagnoses as part of her patient care.
When making a nursing diagnosis of knowledge deficit, a nurse will include specific information about the type of deficit (actual or potential), what it's related to and the evidence behind the diagnosis. The diagnosis can be related to a new medical diagnosis, hospitalizations, pregnancy, medications or a number of other topics. The evidence to support the diagnosis might include a request for information, an expression of anxiety about an upcoming diagnostic test or failure to integrate a treatment plan into everyday life.
When caring for a patient with a new medical diagnosis of diabetes, a nurse may identify nursing diagnoses related to the disease. For example, he may list knowledge deficit, actual, related to new diagnosis of diabetes, as evidenced by failure to use the blood glucose monitor correctly. He might also cite knowledge deficit, potential, related to medications, as evidenced by request for information about insulin.
A nursing diagnosis is an integral part of the nursing process (assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation). Once a nurse has identified nursing diagnoses for her patient with newly-diagnosed diabetes, she will develop a nursing care plan. For example, she may plan a hands-on training session with the patient's blood glucose monitor to address the knowledge deficit, actual, related to new diagnosis of diabetes, as evidenced by failure to use the blood glucose monitor correctly.
The implementation, or intervention, component of the nursing process occurs when the nurse puts her plan into place. In this case, the actual training session with a demonstration, return demonstration, and question and answer period is a great intervention. It flows logically from the knowledge deficit nursing diagnosis that indicated the patient isn't able to use his blood glucose monitor correctly.
Evaluation, the final component of the nursing process, gives the nurse a chance to compare the patient's new level of knowledge with the earlier knowledge deficit. If the patient is able to show the nurse she can use his blood glucose monitor correctly, there is no longer a knowledge deficit associated with its use. The nursing diagnosis is no longer valid, and the nurse will document that information on the patient's medical record.
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