Hayley A Hutchings, Frances Rapport
College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
Introduction: Although the concept of patient-centered professionalism has been defined in the literature and adopted to some extent by key health care regulatory bodies, there has been little research that has identified what the concept means to professionals and patients.
Aim: The purpose of this paper is to identify the key concepts of patient-centered professionalism as identified in the literature and to discuss these within the context of existing research across a variety of health care settings.
Findings: Key documents have been identified from within nursing, medicine, and pharmacy, which outline what is expected of professionals within these professional groups according to their working practices. Although not defined as patient-centered professionalism, the principles outlined in these documents mirror the definitions of patient-centered professional care defined by Irvine and the Picker Institute and are remarkably similar across the three professions. While patients are identified as being at the heart of health care and professional working practice, research within the fields of community nursing and community pharmacy suggests that patient and professional views diverge as regards what is important, according to different group agendas. In addition, the delivery of patient-centered professional care is often difficult to achieve, due to numerous challenges to the provision of patient-centric care.
Conclusion: According to the literature, patient-centered professionalism means putting the patient at the heart of care delivery and working in partnership with the patient to ensure patients are well informed and their care choices are respected. However, limited research has examined what the concept means to patients and health care professionals working with patients and how this fits with literature definitions. Further work is needed to identify aspects of the concept as regards the importance placed on patient-centered professionalism and a mechanism is required for dissemination and integration of the findings to key monitoring and regulatory bodies. Major aspects of the concept, once identified within the various health care arenas, should be incorporated into heath care professional curricula and continued professional development.
Keywords: patient-centered professionalism, health care professionals, patients, public
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