Exploring person-centredness: a qualitative meta-synthesis of four studies

Scand J Caring Sci. 2010 Sep;24(3):620-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00814.x.


Person-centredness as a concept is becoming more prominent and increasingly central within some research literature, approaches to practice and as a guiding principle within some health and social care policy. Despite the increasing body of literature into person-centred nursing (PCN), there continues to be a 'siloed' approach to its study, with few studies integrating perspectives from across nursing specialties. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study undertaken to explore if the secondary analysis of findings from four different and unrelated research studies (that did not have the main aim of researching person-centredness) could inform our understanding of person-centred nursing. A qualitative meta-synthesis was undertaken of the data derived from the four unrelated research studies undertaken with different client groups with long-term health conditions. A hermeneutic and interpretative approach was used to guide the analysis of data and framed within a particular person-centred nursing framework. Findings suggest 'professional competence' (where competence is understood more broadly than technical competence) and knowing 'self' are important prerequisites for person-centred nursing. Characteristics of the care environment were also found to be critical. Despite the existence of expressed person-centred values, care processes largely remained routinised, ritualistic and affording few opportunities for the formation of meaningful relationships. Person-centred nursing needs to be understood in a broader context than the immediate nurse-patient/family relationship. The person-centred nursing framework has utility in helping to understand the dynamics of the components of person-centredness and overcoming the siloed nature of many current perspectives.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Nursing*
  • Patient-Centered Care*