Acknowledgements: We would like to thank mr Nikolaos Galanis, prof Panagiota Sourtzi, mr Konstantinos Galanis, ms. Maria Tsekoura, ms Fotini Skafida, mr Georgios Kampouroglou for their contribution to the pilot testing of the educational programme.
Introduction: Deaf sign language users face limited access to health information and health care and an increased risk concerning medication safety, mainly because of communication barriers with health professionals. Such problems and risks could be mitigated by properly educated nurses.
Aim: To design and pilot test an educational programme for nurses and nursing students to ensure the deafs’ right in better health care.
Material and Methods: Literature was searched for education curricula of teaching greek sign language as a foreign language and for educational programmes for health profesionals and students on deafness awareness, deaf culture and other aspects that arise when caring for deaf patients.
Results: By synthesising the literature findings, an educational programme for nurses and nursing students was designed and pilot tested. The educational programme contains issues related to the culture, the rights and the particular needs of deaf people on health care settings. It also includes courses to acquire knowledge and communication skills in greek sign language, focused on the communication needs of the nurse when caring for deaf patients. The duration of the education is 30 hours (10 courses).
Conclusions – Discussion: It is the first time that a relevant education programme for nurses and nursing students is applied. From the pilot testing it seems that the participants’ awareness and acquired knowledge and skills about deafness were increased so that nurses will be able to improve the health care provided to deaf patients. Future educational programmes could use the strong points and improve any weaknesses of this educational programme, when the results of its evaluation will be available.
Key words: Education, deaf, sign language, nursing, health