1. Funnell, Martha M. MS, RN, CDE


Patient empowerment is defined as helping people to discover and use their own innate ability to gain mastery over their diabetes (Funnell MM, Anderson RM. Diabetes Educ. 1991;17:37-41). While you cannot empower a patient, nurses can use strategies that will assist patients in this process. These include providing education for informed decision-making, assisting patients to weigh costs and benefits of various treatment options, setting self-selected behavioral goals, and providing information about the importance of their role in self-management (Funnell et al. Diabetes Educ. 2003;29:454-464). The skills needed by nurses include asking questions in order to understand the patients' fears, concerns, and priorities, listening to responses, and educating and supporting patients for on-going self-management.