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Patient centredness

Principle D

This page contains information on principle D from the RCN’s Principles of Nursing Practice which covers themes of advocacy, empowerment, patient-centred care and patients' involvement in their care.

‘Nurses and nursing staff provide and promote care that puts people at the centre, involves patients, service users, their families and their carers in decisions and helps them make informed choices about their treatment and care.’ (1)

The concept of person- or patient-centredness is not new. However, its implementation often doesn't support user engagement. The challenge is to find ways of recording experience and turning feedback into service improvement.

User needs, service improvements

Advocate groups have reported descriptions of services from a user perspective . Age UK (2) has set out a seven step overview of what people should expect on admission to a hospital ward. Although written about care of the elderly in an acute setting, there is much that is transferable for other patients and other care settings.

Tools and guides

Tools for implementing models of patient-centred care include resources for observation of practice and methods for gathering patient/staff stories (3). Developments in social media are producing innovative ways of providing feedback that could further support person/patient-centred care (4). Practical guides to improving engagement and user experience are available (5, 6).


These references were last accessed 7 December 2015.
  1. RCN (2010) Principles of Nursing Practice. RCN.
  2. Age UK (2010) Still hungry to be heard (PDF 1.45MB). London: Age UK.
  3. Royal College of Nursing (2007) Workplace resources for practice development. London: RCN.
  4. Patient Opinion (2011) “Excellent ideas from Rotherham nutrition and dietetics team”. Patient Opinion website.
  5. King’s Fund (2011b) Experience-based co-design toolkit. King's Fund website.
  6. Picker Institute (2009) Using patient feedback: a practical toolkit. Oxford: Picker Institute Europe.

Page last updated - 03/08/2019