Dorothy Weeks


This study was conducted to determine the nature and sources of patients' pretest knowledge and understanding of the diagnostic procedure, electroencephalography. A review of literature on electroencephalography and patients' involvement in diagnostic procedures revealed that patients need to be informed about scheduled electroencephalography in order to reduce their anxiety, thereby improving the technical quality of the test. Nursing literature contained many statements encouraging nurses to inform patients about diagnostic procedures. No literature was found concerning the teaching role of physicians in informing patients, although both patients and technicians look to the physician as the expected source of patients' pretest information. The descriptive survey was chosen as the method of the study. An interview guide was used in conducting structured interviews with forty patients and ten parents of pediatric patients immediately prior to electroencephalography. In general, the fifty respondents had received little pretest information concerning electroencephalography. The largest number (50 per cent) had received information from physicians. Primarily, this information concerned the purpose of the test, and did not add materially to the patients' understanding of their personal involvement in the procedure. The next largest number of patients (14 per cent) had received information from friends. These patients were better informed about the procedures of electroencephalography than were those receiving information from any other source, although in some cases the information from friends was misleading. Nurses were responsible for the least amount of information given to patients about the test. One patient (2 per cent) had received information from this source. Inpatients, with more nursing contacts, were less informed about electroencephalography than were the outpatients. Other sources of information included television, books and periodicals. Many patients expressed a desire for more information about the test but, in general, did not have sufficient background to articulate specific questions. It was recommended that nurses re-examine their role as teachers of patients and assess the reasons why, at least in regard to diagnostic procedures, they seem not to be fulfilling this role; and, further, that physicians, nurses, and technicians collectively develop a clear and mutually acceptable definition of their respective roles in providing patients with patient-centered information about diagnostic tests.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Matilda Anabelle Mills

Second Advisor

Carol Ann Brady

Third Advisor

Julia Bensonhaver

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Electroencephalography; Patient Education



Page Count

vi; 71; iii

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Nursing Commons