How The Beliefs, Values And Attitudes Of The Nurse May Impact Upon The Provision Of Person-centred Care

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Provide a critical analysis of how the beliefs, values and attitudes of the nurse may impact upon the provision of person-centred care

Introduction

The person-centred care approach focuses holistically on the patient as an individual, rather than their diagnosis or symptoms, and ensures that their needs and choices are heard and respected. According to Draper & Tetley (2013: n.p.), person-centred care is defined as “an approach to nursing that focuses on the individual’s personal needs, wants, desires and goals, so that they become central to their care and the nursing process. This can mean putting the person’s needs, as they define them, above those identified as priorities by healthcare professionals.” Theoretically, this is an achievable aim – nursesas a matter of principle should provide care that respects the diversity of the values, needs, choices and preferences of those in their care – but how can any incongruity between the values, beliefs and attitudes of the patient and those of the nurse be reconciled? Is it inevitable that this dissonance will have a negative impact on the quality of person-centred care being provided? This essay will examine the beliefs, values and attitudes of nurses planning and delivering person-centred care, and the impact these issues can have on the provision of that care. Nurses are expected to practice in a caring, knowledgeable, professional, courteous and non-judgemental manner, and the majority do this as a matter of principle, displaying unconditional positive regard for their patients at all times. However, values, beliefs and attitudes are, of course, subjective to each individual, and in the context of delivering person-centred nursing care, it is important to identify those that are holistic and therapeutic, rather than focussing only on those that are not. According to Brink & Skott (2013), some diagnoses lead to preconceptions about the individuals receiving them, which subsequently negatively influence their care and treatment. This can be particularly evident in the case of mental illness, which is often mired in stigma, fear, ignorance and discrimination. Research undertaken by Chambers et al (2010: pp. 350) found that “Stigma on the part of mental health professionals affects the quality of care provided for those with mental health problems, as well as their rates of recovery.” Although nurses working within the field of mental health will obviously have more developed skills and knowledge in this subject than those in other specialities of nursing, it is not inconceivable that nurses may harbour some preconceptions about mental illnesses and those diagnosed with them, which may impact on how positively they deliver care to those patients. Those requiring treatment for alcohol abuse or substance misuse may also experience a less empathetic experience in the care of nurses, who may feel that the condition is self-inflicted, or that resources may be better utilised elsewhere. This attitude may be even more prevalent in cases of liver transplant due to alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, when there may be a misplaced belief that another recipient is more ‘deserving’

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