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Nursing Concepts of Care: Person-Centredness

The Concept of Care

The approach of care is the basic principle in nursing. The notions of nursing and caring are so interconnected that it is impossible to view one of them without the other. Apart from being a feeling, caring is also an action. The most prominent caring theory was suggested by Dr. Jean Watson (Lachman, 2012). Watson distinguished several creative factors as opposed to curative – meaning that they are related to care and not to medicine (“Core concepts,” 2010). The basic factors involve moral responsibility to guard and improve human self-respect, consideration of people’s wishes, preferences, and traditions, caring apprehension of self as a nurse, and of the patient as a human being (“Core concepts,” 2010). Also, Watson emphasizes the need for “heart-centered” caring grounded on respect for the integrity between body, spirit, and mind (“Core concepts,” 2010, p. 1). The author also asserts the importance of inner tranquility and self-possession and the desire to assist the person in need (“Core concepts,” 2010).

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To create a credulous connection with the patients, a nurse needs to comprehend the feelings and emotions which may promote breaking the obstacles to confidentiality. Caring demands a profound association with his/her own atmosphere and the patient’s atmosphere (Lachman, 2012). It is necessary for the nurse to realize people’s unique identity and pay effort to secure the patients’ self-respect.

Another vital issue is the transpersonal caring connection. This relationship characterizes the nurse’s self-apprehension and moral responsibility to create deliberate contact with the patient. The third major component is called “caring moment” (Lachman, 2012, p. 112). It involves the time and space in which nurses and patients cooperate with the aim of raising caring.

Tronto (1993) analyzed care ethics and suggested phases and elements of caring (as cited in Lachman, 2012, p. 113). The four phases proposed by the scholar are: “caring about, taking care of, caregiving and care receiving”; the four elements are: “attentiveness, responsibility, competence, and responsiveness of the care receiver” (as cited in Lachman, 2012, p. 113).

Thus, the concept of care, being an integral part of the nursing career, involves a combination of interpersonal skills and professional knowledge and aims at providing the best conditions for the patients.

The Concept of Person-Centredness

Another essential principle in nursing is the concept of person-centredness. The term “person-centredness” is applied when characterizing a norm of care guaranteed to the patient in a care center. The concept is considered multidimensional and involves various aspects of a nurse’s professional skills (McCance, McCormack, & Dewing, 2011). McCormack et al. (2010) define person-centred care as a manner of practice determined by the production and promotion of therapeutic relations between patients, care providers, and other people important in patients’ lives. The concept presupposes recognition of one’s dignity, person’s right for self-confidence, and reciprocal appreciation and respect

While the idea of the concept is perceived by the medical workers, its realization in practice frequently presents a difficulty. To explain the difference between the concept and the accrual person-centredness, McCance et al. created a Person-Centred Nursing Framework, which allows the nurses to scrutinize the application of person-centered care in their practice (McCance et al., 2011). The suggested framework involves four constituent parts: prerequisites, care environment, person-centred processes, and outcomes (McCance et al., 2011).

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Prerequisites concentrate on the nurses’ characteristics and involve professional competence, excellent interpersonal techniques, dedication to the profession, ability to show the accuracy of values, and apprehending the self (McCance et al., 2011). The central point of the care environment is the situation in which care is provided. These circumstances include a relevant combination of skills, schemes helping in shared decision-making, competent staff relations, capacity of risk taking, and physical surroundings (McCance et al., 2011). Person-centred processes concentrate on providing care via a variety of activities and encompass dealing with the patients’ values and opinions, involvement, shared decision-making, sympathetic approach, and integrated care (McCance et al., 2011). Finally, the authors consider outcomes the core constituent of their framework. The outcomes are the consequences of sufficient person-centred nursing and incorporate the patients’ contentment with care, engagement in care, feeling of comfort and welfare, and establishing a therapeutic setting (McCance et al., 2011).

A List of Propositions Connecting Both Concepts

Being the core principles of nursing, the concept of care and the concept of person-centredness have several things in common:

  1. Both approaches are aimed at reaching the best outcomes for the patient;
  2. As well as the concept of care, person-centredness presupposes the nurse’s close communication with the patients;
  3. Both concepts require the nurse’s excellent skills;
  4. The two approaches address the need for holistic attitude to the patients’ well-being;
  5. In both cases, the nurse is expected to have profound professional skills along with integrated interpersonal abilities;
  6. It is easier to define the two concepts than to evaluate one’s possession of them;
  7. Nurse is responsible for the success or failure of the concept in both cases;
  8. The two concepts are significant in health care system and need further development and implementation.


Core concepts of Jean Watson’s theory of human caring/caring science. (2010). Web.

Lachman, V. D. (2012). Applying the ethics of care to your nursing practice. MEDSURG Nursing, 21(2), 112-115.

McCance, T., McCormack, B., & Dewing, J. (2011). An exploration of person-centredness in practice. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 16(2). Web.

McCormack, B., Dewing, J., Breslin, E., Coyne-Nevin, A., Kennedy, K., Manning, M., … Slater, P. (2010). Developing person-centred practice: Nursing outcomes arising from changes to the care environment in residential settings for older people. International Journal of Older People Nursing, 5(2), 93-107.

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