The philosophy of nursing that best guides my approach and practice is patient-centered care. Introduced in the second half of the 20th century, the framework of patient-centered care has undergone many iterations, but in modern nursing, it is believed to be the underpinning theory to practice. However, the complex modern clinical environments combined with highly technical and evidence-based scientific approaches to practice often leave this fundamental aspect somewhat forgotten. Patient-centered care implies knowing the individual for whom one is providing care, understanding their needs, and involving the patient and family in the planning and provision of care. Originating in humanistic psychotherapy, patient-centered care seeks to provide a holistic approach to care. Furthermore, it provides feelings of value, attention, and worthiness to the patient that empowers them in the healthcare process and commonly leads to positive outcomes, adherence to treatments, and overall satisfaction.
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Patient-centered care requires providers to establish a trusting relationship with patients. It includes taking cues from their concerns and wishes as well as understanding their views or fears, relating to the patient on a human and emotional level, and communicating with competence on the care planning process. This allows understanding their needs and condition inherently better, potentially leading to more accurate diagnoses of an illness or its cause, as well as selecting treatments that the patient would be able to adhere to and afford. Despite common misconceptions, the patient is not a passive receiver of care but holds the role of a partnership in the care process. The patient-centered framework embraces humanistic concepts of respect and the right to self-determination while also supporting the four principles of healthcare ethics, particularly autonomy and beneficence.