This study examined the impact of inpatient education on diabetes knowledge, acute coronary syndrome (ACS) symptom management and diabetes self-management on discharge for patients with ACS and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). A cross-sectional survey and patient health record review of 160 patients was conducted in a major hospital in Shanghai. Patient education received was measured using a visual analogue scale. The survey included valid and reliable measures of diabetes knowledge, self-efficacy, attitudes to ACS and clinical outcomes. Inpatient education contributed to improvements in fasting blood glucose on discharge (P < 0.05). ACS symptom management [Chinese language version of the ACS response index (C-ACSRI) scores] and self-management of T2DM [Chinese version of diabetes management self-efficacy scale (C-DMSES) scores] on discharge differed for the limited education group and sufficient education group (P < 0.001). Based on the multiple regression analyses, increasing scores for the C-ASCRI and C-DMSES could be explained by higher scores for perceived health education. Education relating to ACS and T2DM delivered during an acute admission was associated with improved scores in ACS symptom management and T2DM self-management, preparing some patients to manage both conditions on discharge.