Over the last thirty years, patient-centered care has gone from being merely an idealistic concept to a fundamental and expected approach to care delivery. Today, Planetree, a non profit organization, leads the charge in the advancement of such care practices. In this series, we discuss and disprove the myths that Planetree has identified as challenges to achieving patient-centered care.
Before debunking these myths, it is important to explain what we mean by “patient-centered care.” As defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), it is “providing care that is respectful and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” In short? It means taking the patient into consideration when making clinical decisions.
Today, we address the following myth: Providing patient-centered care is the job of nurses.
That’s Why We Have Nurses, Right?
While it is not inaccurate to say that patient care is a primary responsibility of nurses, it is inaccurate to say that patient care is exclusively the job of nurses. This misconception often stems the belief that hospital leaders should be spending their time “behind the scenes,” handling functions such as the organization’s finance, strategy, and equipment. Once you enter the C-Suite, directly interacting with patients is no longer part of the job description, and it is up to the nurses on the frontlines to make sure patients are safe, healthy, and happy.
Responsibility Does Not Fall on the Shoulders of One…
…It falls on the shoulders of many. Patient-centered care is a universal responsibility within the hospital, and should be a key focus of everyone from administrative personnel to medical staff. Team members in every department, at every tier of the organization, in both clinical and non-clinical roles, contribute to the overall patient experience. Whether it is dietary aide delivering a patient’s meal or an infection control coordinator ensuring proper hand hygiene, every staff member works to promote excellent patient care.
Patient-Centered Care Comes from Empowered Staff
Building a patient-centered culture is only possible when all caregivers recognize their contributions, and feel empowered to go above and beyond their basic job descriptions. This sense of empowerment stems from hospital leaders. When leaders equip their team with effective resources, recognize their achievements, and support their development, staff can work to their highest potential and optimize care. In this way, team members at all levels of the organization contribute to the delivery of patient-centered care.