Patient-centered care: building strong nurse-patient relationships

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Patient care within the healthcare space has evolved into many things over the years. Modern healthcare is more concerned about the needs of patients and how treatments and other plans can be made to fit their personal preferences than anything else. It also goes a long way in encouraging the active participation of patients in the decision-making process of their treatment.

Learning about patient-centered care is useful for different categories of health professionals, and nurses aren’t left out as they play a vital role in the implementation and caregiving process. To truly provide this kind of patient care, nurses must first understand its intricacies.

This article will break down the concept of patient-centered care by defining it, highlighting the benefits of this caregiving approach, outlining the elements of patient-centered care, and considering the application of patient-centered care in nursing care roles.

What is patient-centered care?

Although there isn’t a generally accepted definition of patient-centered care, the term has fast become popularized among professionals in all healthcare settings. Patient-centered care is a category that is typified by the provision of enhanced medical experiences, where patients feel involved, respected, and enabled throughout the process. It is also a style of care used by various categories of healthcare professionals working with different patients.

There isn’t any generally accepted definition because it has different aspects. One part involves treating patients with empathy and respect while providing all the support they require to make the right decisions regarding their course of treatment and general health. Suppose a patient requires treatment for a condition or ailment. In that case, the health professional must ensure that they know their diagnosis, treatment plans, test results, and potential treatment outcomes. It will also mean patient involvement is taken seriously at every treatment step.

Another aspect of patient-centered care is the involvement of family members and guardians in the treatment process. Not only is the patient informed about important decisions, but the trusted family members are also provided with resources that help them understand the treatment provided.

Benefits of patient-centered care

There are many reasons why patient-centered care is beneficial and works for all parties involved – patients, professionals, and health institutions. Some of these benefits include the following.

Increased patient satisfaction

Ultimately, what truly matters is that the patient’s need is catered for. Putting the patient at the center and ensuring that practices align with the current market will increase patient satisfaction in many ways. Patients may feel they have better support from their healthcare provider when patient-centered care practices are utilized. Taking time to listen to the wants and expectations of patients helps in tailoring the treatment and care plan. This will also increase the level of satisfaction derived from the process.

Improved workplace reputation

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities’ reputations depend on the increased satisfaction levels and treatment systems available. Using patient-centered care ensures that workers can build a better reputation for the workplace throughout the healthcare network. This happens when patients feel more compelled to give positive reviews about the high level of care received at the facility. They will also recommend the services to friends and family who require similar services.

Improved employee morale

Employees have a great influence on the outcome and reputation of a healthcare facility. However, utilizing a patient-centered care system can also improve morale at work. This is possible because healthcare professionals have a better chance of forming a valued connection with their patients. This makes the treatment process easier and gives employees something to build on.

Lessened expenses

Ensuring that the highest level of patient care is provided may seem like procuring high expenses, but in the long run, it will reduce the costs for the healthcare facility. Paying attention to the needs and expectations of patients will minimize costly mistakes and reduce the overall amount that the facility spends.

Efficient health outcomes

Patient-centered care can improve the health results of patients. When patients are properly cared for, this will also positively affect their stress levels, help them rest, and improve their ability to share their expectations and needs with assigned professionals.

Elements of patient-centered care

Many elements are required for patient-centered care to work effectively. Listed below are the factors that determine the functionality of patient-centered treatment.


Respect in patient-centered care can come in many forms. First, it means that nurses offer significant advice to patients and show respect for their values and preferred option of treatment. It also means that nurses allow their patients to set achievable health goals. The concern is truly about listening to what the patient needs and working towards honoring them as much as possible.


Making collective decisions makes your patients feel empowered. It allows them to see that their decisions are being carried out by what works best for them. Coordination also means that nurses combine every element involved in their medical care, from support resources to medical staff, to support their medical preferences. An example is a patient deciding to take a certain medication over another. Rather than administering the drug, the nurse can also provide information about the benefits and side effects.


One important part of patient-centered care is informing patients about their diagnoses and progress. To ensure this happens, nurses must maintain a routine check-in with patients about their health status, possible outcomes, and the right treatment plans. Ensuring that nurses remain transparent about their current health state can help patients feel more secure about the process and trust the healthcare employees with the expected outcome. In addition, coordinating communication between the different members of the working healthcare team will ensure that nurses provide consistent and clear updates to their patients.


Ensuring patients feel comfortable with the treatment propositions and the facility is very important. This ensures that a patient is relaxing while getting the right care. Comfort level can be measured through communication. Nurses can ask about their pain l, assist with their needs like feeding and movement, and ensure that the condition of the facility is at its best. In many ways, providing a comfortable environment can ensure that the patient’s healthcare is maximized.

Relief of anxiety

Putting patient care at the forefront can reduce stress and eliminate stressors. There are many techniques to ease the anxiety that patients feel during treatments. First, nurses can show concern about their mental health by discussing any immediate or long-term fears that they may have regarding their treatment. They can also ask about the financial implications of the treatment on their personal lives and make suggestions if required. Lastly, emotional support is an aspect of anxiety relief that shouldn’t be overlooked. Nurses can offer patients companionship by listening to their concerns and validating their emotions.

Communication with families

Communicating with families and companions is an important aspect of patient-centered care. A patient-centered care strategy should encourage family members to be key in treating the patient. Nurses should encourage them to visit the health care facility to see the patient, offer advice that can ease their decision-making process, and provide emotional support during treatment. This ensures that the family and loved ones of the patient feel like an important part of the treatment system. Nurses should also provide comfortable settings and privacy for them when required and explain treatment plans in the simplest ways possible.


Patients need resources to inform them of their health status and the assistance available to them throughout the process. They may also require personalized resources that best meet their individual needs. Calm patients undergoing surgery may benefit greatly from reading success stories and learning to navigate the process. Resources are also a good way to calm patients’ minds and settle during treatment.

Transition to independence

Finally, patient-centered care is not about the treatment phase alone. It also works toward assisting patients in transitioning into independence. This transitioning care comes in various ways and typically includes providing vital medical information. A patient must know how to use medications post-treatment, dietary restrictions that they must follow to reduce potential side effects, and the correct exercise routines to maximize the healing process. Nurses may go as far as coordinating treatment programs, routine visitations to their homes, and providing all the information required for continuous support. Facilities should ensure that nurse call lines and virtual centers are as accessible as possible.

The role that nurses play in the buildup of patient-centered care

Nurses have a good chance to use patient-centered care while treating their patients. Their patient-centered duties cover a wide range of activities, and the bottom line is to ensure that patients are always comfortable. So, while administering medication, they need to ensure that it’s done in the easiest way for the patient.

Nurses also need to ensure consistent sharing of progress reports with the patient’s family. Then, the nurse will be in the right position to coordinate treatment plans with other members of the healthcare facility, such as physicians, to ensure that the entirety of the treatment phase is personalized and patient-centric. Here are several ways through which nurses can provide patient-centered care.

Dignified healing

Patient-centered care highlights the significance of respect and dignity in the whole healing process. Nurses should consider the specific preferences of their patients, whether they are related to personal values or spiritual and cultural beliefs. They also need to ensure that the healing process includes comfort preferences, as comfort looks different to everyone. In some hospital settings, provisions are made for elements like music and pet therapy, natural lighting, healing gardens, and other factors to ensure that patients and their loved ones are surrounded by things that will enhance the healing process.

It is also important to remember that honoring a patient’s cultural and spiritual preferences helps build mutual trust and respect. Dignified healing consists of listening and adhering to choices and discussions that have been made. A patient’s thought process may not align with the provision presented to them, and as such, it is important to respect their wishes and find treatment options that work well for them.

Patient knowledge and education

Patient-centered care is concerned with treating patients and their loved ones as key partners in delivering care. As a result, nursing professionals must learn as much as possible about both parties involved. First, nurses should understand their patient’s needs by asking the right questions. Then, they should apply their families and loved ones, particularly in precarious situations, and ensure everyone understands all that is required. Family involvement should begin from the patient’s arrival until discharge and the post-treatment phase.

Understanding all there is to know about a patient also means that nurses put their safety first and prioritize the quality of treatment they deliver. Clinical knowledge and experience are vital elements that ensure that nurses calculate the best possible actions.

Another aspect of patient knowledge that nurses must pay attention to is informed consent. Thanks to digital technology and information, it has become much easier to communicate with patients and receive support on specific matters relating to their treatment. Electronic health records (EHRs) are another vital aspect of advanced patient-centered care that gives prompt access to patients’ medical history. This will lessen the probability of errors and repetition of unnecessary testing procedures.

Keeping track of patient information ensures that the data is accessible when needed and used to improve the quality of treatment offered to patients.

Collaboration and teamwork

The treatment of a patient isn’t solely dependent on the nurse. Rather, it involves everyone, from physicians, lab scientists, surgeons, and other professionals interested in the hospital setting. Hospitals encourage all employees to work together to ensure that the utmost outcome is realized for every patient. All employees need to understand the significance of their roles in the general delivery of patient care and perform at a higher level to achieve this.

Those working within a healthcare organization that supports a collaborative culture find achieving high-quality patient-centered care easier. This is also beneficial for such organizations as it heightens their satisfaction ratings.

As patient-centered care is beginning to populate the healthcare system, nurses must understand that their role will also be integrated into the charging scenario. Therefore, there’s a need for nurses to ensure that they are ready for this new wave. When prepared to extract the big picture and take the next step in their nursing career, an online ABSN from Elmhurst University will give them the tools they need for an exciting career.

The nurse’s role in patient-centered care is primarily to partner with patients and their families and provide care that is coordinated, personalized, and focused on every patient’s distinctive preferences and needs. The benefits of this approach are enormous, and nurses must take advantage of them. The benefits of this approach are vast, and nurses must take advantage of them. While some challenges may come with the provision of patient-centered care, particularly within complex healthcare environments, understanding the intricacies makes it easier to navigate.


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