Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive, immunologically dependent, systemic diseases of connective tissue, leading to disability, cripplehood or even premature death. Helping to improve the quality of life of RA patients involves teaching them how to cope with disease-related problems of everyday life, with stress and with suffering. The aim of the presented work is to determine the following: the patients' level of knowledge about rheumatoid arthritis; their educational needs; the impact of the level of knowledge on the patients' pro-health behaviours; the knowledge of nurses and their ability to recognize patients' problems; the nurse's tasks in preparing an RA patient for self-care. The subject group consisted of patients with RA diagnosed according to The American Rheumatism Association criteria and nurses from rheumatology clinics and wards. The research method used was a survey questionnaire, which had been constructed for the purpose of the research. The research results indicate a great need of patients, especially those with early rheumatoid arthritis, for education, support and help in adaptation. At the same time, the nurses, even though they do not fully fulfil their educational role, declare a willingness to participate in organized forms of health education.