Educational activities

Educational activities

Empowering patient education programme arranges educational courses:

International education:

Empowering Patient Education Course (5-25 ECTS)

Empowering Patient Education programme provides education for international and Finnish master and PhD students in nursing and health sciences as well as for health care professionals working in nursing practice. The education includes Empowering Patient Education (EPE) Course (5-25 ECTS). The international EPE course has been annual since 2008 and it contains five modules.

Professor emerita Helena Leino-Kilpi and professor Sanna Salanterä won the Producer of Learning Material Award from the Faculty of Medicine in 2012 for the EPE Course.


The course aims at describing the theoretical and methodological basis for empowering patient education from the perspectives of the patient, personnel, health care organization and society, deepening understanding of analyzing and implementing and doing research on empowering patient education, and making judgments about empowering patient education in clinical settings and research.

Course description

5 interactive modules in Autumn semester 2024.

Online modules:

  • Module 1: Orientation and conceptual basis of empowering patient education on 2-15 September (obligatory, 5 ects)
  • Module 2: Diagnostics in empowering patient education on 16 September-6 October (5 ects)
  • Module 3: Patient education as an empowering patient education intervention on 7-27 October (5 ects)
  • Module 4: Evaluation of empowering patient education on 28 October-10 November (5 ects)

Module with a 3-day intensive period in Turku, Finland:

  • Module 5: Special issues in empowering patient education research 11 November-11 December (5 ects)
    • The intensive period on 9-11 December in Turku, Finland

Free for students in master and PhD programmes. Price for others: 500 €.

The application for the EPE course 2024 via this link by 18 August 2024.

For students in the University of Turku, please register through Peppi. The courses are:

  • HOIT4001-3006 Module 1: Orientation and Theoretical Basis of Empowering Patient Education
  • HOIT4006-3006 Module 2: Diagnostics in Empowering Patient Education
  • HOIT4003-3006 Module 3: Patient Education as an Empowering Intervention
  • HOIT4004-3006 Module 4: Evaluation of Empowering Patient Education
  • HOIT4005-3007 Module 5: Special Issues in Empowering Patient Education Research

Study guide

Contact information: Heli Virtanen, Docent, hetuvi(a)

Student comments

Some comments from previous EPE course participants who have been from various countries, for example:

Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA

Theoretical perspectives

“I thought the course would be only on the concept of empowerment. I have been very positively surprised.”
“This knowledge significantly expanded my understanding of EPE. During this course I got some good ideas to my own research.”
“I think I need more information about methods/strategies used in empowering patient education.”
“The lecture about outcomes of empowering patient education is so important that it should be longer.”

Learning perspectives

“Course challenged my academic thinking and expanded my command of knowledge.”
“The learning happened during the lectures and discussions. Deep learning happened every day when we were present here.”
“It opened my head for new ideas, new perspectives in patient care. Thnak you for offering the course!”
“Corresponded exactly with my gods. This is the kind of learning that is claiming in my country.”
“My institute of nursing science and my hospital do not have structured programs in patient education, but the Department of Nursing Science of University of Turku has a very strong expertise in it.”
“Learning takes of writing a review. I learned a lot!! Really effective. Very good – very supported.”
“I developed a lot of ideas but they are circle around in a confusion manner in my brain and I still hope to get my patient education program designed.”

Practical perspectives

“All was executed according to the plan. As a foreign student I got information and plans about lodging and the University.”
“An excellent course, highly organised with excellent resources provided”
“Excellent to have everything on Moodle (literature, presentations)”
“Education environment Moodle was used and it was very useful forum for communicating with other students and stuff.”
“It was easy to contact the lecturers and the Professors of the Department of Nursing Science. They responded quickly if I had some problems.”

International collaboration

“We got to know each other very well. I liked very much that there were also international students. It was nice to go together for dinner and so on.”
“There has planned specific moments to the course that we could interact with other students.”
“Very much good-will between students from different countries – helpfulness and friendliness”
“The group came very close.”


National education:

EPE Theme Day

EPE Theme Day (Potilasohjauksen teemapäivä) is an annual, free webinar in Finnish providing recent research findings in the field of empowering patient education and diverse perspectives on patient education. The theme day is targeted at health and social care professionals and students, researchers in health sciences, patients and their significant others, and anyone who is interested in empowering patient education.

The next EPE Theme Day will be in Spring 2024. The program and instructions for registration will be announced here.

Past EPE Theme Days:

Contact information: Saija Inkeroinen, Doctoral researcher, saanin(a)

Skilled Patient Educator Course (6 ECTS)

The course aims at developing empowering patient education in health care practice. The teaching methods include lectures, supervision meetings and completion of written patient education material. The students develop written empowering patient education material for their own unit.  The education is designed for health care professionals working in health care practice. Empowering Patient Education programme of the Department of Nursing Science is responsible for teaching. The course is arranged with the Hospital District of Southwest Finland, Satakunta Hospital District and Turku Health Care Services.

For the students taken the Skilled Patient Educator Course, Learning Café events and other social events have been arranged.

Contact information: If you are interested in organizing this course in your organization, please contact professor emerita Helena Leino-Kilpi (helena.leino-kilpi(a) or Doctoral researcher Saija Inkeroinen (saanin(a)


The current practices and innovations in patient education are presented as well as outcomes of patient education are evaluated in the symposium. The education is designed for health care professionals, leaders, master students and doctoral researchers, teachers and researchers in nursing and health sciences. The symposiums are arranged with the Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland and the Wellbeing Services County of Satakunta.

Past symposiums

Expertice in teaching

Helena Leino-Kilpi, Professor emerita, Nurse Director, PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN, FEANS, MAE

Patient education
Empowering patient education
Researching patient education
Ethics of patient education

Kirsi Valkeapää (ex Johansson), Docent, PhD, RN

Patient education
Orthopaedic nursing
Surgical nursing
Research methods/methodological issues especially surveys
Questionnaire studies
Quasiexperimental and experimental study design

Heli Virtanen, Docent, PhD, RN

Empowering patient education
Empowering discourse between a patient and a nurse
Learning needs of surgical patient
Requirement of a good written educational material
Evaluation of written patient education material
Learning of patient education in nursing education
Virtual patient simulation in learning of patient education
Computer-assisted simulation in nursing education

Evanthia Sakellari, PhD, RHV

Drawings in patient education
Health promotion
Mental health promotion
School health promotion
Empowering adolescents

Mervi Siekkinen, PhD, RT

Patient education
E-education of breast cancer patients
Empowering patient education
Health promotion
Knowledge test development
Knowledge test – Feedback

Jukka Kesänen, PhD, RN

Patient education
Empowering patient education
Orthopaedic Nursing
Day-surgical nursing and Critical care nursing
Knowledge tests
Drawings in patient education

Arja Pekonen, Doctoral researcher, MNSc, RN

Patient education
Orthopaedic nursing
Follow-up study designs

Leena Tuominen, Doctoral researcher, MNSc

Teach-back method

Educational methods

Internet-based patient education methods

Empowering Internet-based patient education program
Empowering Internet-based patient education programme was created aiming to cognitively empower ambulatory orthopaedic surgery patients. Ambulatory patients possibilities to become cognitively empowered can be increased with the help of cognitively empowering Internet-based education. It can be recommended as an alternative to the face-to-face education method for ambulatory orthopaedic surgery patients.

Contact person: Katja Heikkinen, RN, PhD

Publications based on this method:

Internet-based breast cancer patient’s pathway program (BCPP)
Internet-based breast cancer patient’s pathway program (BCPP) was developed to evaluate the effect of the BCPP to the breast cancer patient’s empowerment by using the patient pathway as a patient education tool. The Internet seems to be an effective patient education tool for increasing knowledge, and BCPP can be used as a patient education method supporting other education methods

Contact person: Anne Ryhänen, RT, PhD

Publication based on this method:

Concept mapping method

Concept mapping method in patient education
The concept mapping method has been originally developed into teaching use for teaching and learning method, and for assessment of learning (Noval 1984). We have used the concept map method in patient and nurse education.
In patient education, the concept map method was studied in preadmission education of orthopaedic patients prior to hospital admission in education discussion. The concept map method seems to be useful in identification of the orthopaedic patient’s previous and current understanding about care-related issues and concentrate to issues on which the patient has no previous knowledge but which are relevant to his/her situation.

Contact person: Kirsi Valkeapää (ex Johansson), Docent, RN, PhD

Publications based on this method:

Concept mapping method in nurse education
In nurse education, the concept map method was studied as an assessment method of learning of empowering discourse. The method was used so that a student draw a concept map on their knowledge before and after learning session.

Contact person: Heli Virtanen, Docent, PhD, RN

Publications based on this method:

  • Virtanen, H., Leino-Kilpi, H., & Salanterä, S. (2016). Nursing students’ knowledge about an empowering discourse: Pretest and posttest assessment. Collegian23(3), 293–301.
  • Virtanen H, Leino-Kilpi S & Salanterä S. (2015). Learning about a patient-empowering discourse: testing the use of a computer simulation with nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice 5 (6), 15–24.

Knowledge tests

Publications based on knowledge test method:

Drawings in patient education

Publications based on drawings in patient education:

Teach-back method