• nurses;
  • nursing;
  • patient education;
  • patient information;
  • patients’ experiences;
  • psychiatric hospital care

Aims and objectives.  This study aimed to explore psychiatric patients’ experiences of patient education on psychiatric inpatient wards.

Background.  Patient education seems to be an effective way to support psychiatric patients’ capacity for independent living, compliance and insight. Despite the development of various patient education interventions there is still a lack of coherent information on how to improve patient education in the field of psychiatric care, especially from patients’ own perspectives.

Design and method.  Data were collected through interviews with 51 inpatients during their discharge process. This exploratory study employs a mixed methods design in data collection and analysis. The structured questions were analysed using descriptive statistics (percentages, frequencies, Mann–Whitney U-test, t-test). Open-ended questions were analysed using inductive content analysis.

Results.  Patients perceived different informational areas to be important for them, although some variation was found. However, patient education was not realized in these same areas. Problems related to patient education described by patients were lack of information, problems in patient–staff interaction and a lack of prerequisite knowledge among patients and staff. Patients’ suggestions for future development of patient education were more innovative methods in patient education, paying attention to patient–staff interaction and personnel's professional knowledge. A majority of patients wanted to receive information through discussions with staff. However, other patient education methods were also suggested.

Conclusions.  Patient education in psychiatric hospitals is an important area to be developed, therefore, more innovative methods should be developed and their effectiveness should be tested.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Development of patient education can be implemented through tailoring patient education to patients’ individual needs and provide patient education using more innovative methods.