Nursing and the science of prevention for population health

Nurs Adm Q. 2014 Apr-Jun;38(2):147-54. doi: 10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000020.


The topic of patient-centered care is at the very epicenter of the contemporary emphasis on a value-based approach to health care. Multiple studies confirm that positive outcomes are consistently achieved when clinicians and administrators put appropriate emphasis on patient-centered care. Although we would agree that the patient-centered approach is necessary for achieving positive clinical outcomes for individual patients, we suggest that this approach alone is insufficient to sustain these outcomes across large populations over an extended-period of time. We believe that a science-based approach to population health coupled with patient-centered care pathways will achieve the most effective, long-term impact for large groups of individuals. Furthermore, we believe that nurses play a central role in a science-based approach to patient-centered medical care. In this article, we discuss the intersection of preventative science, patient-centered care, and the role of nurses. We present our experience at Texas Health Resources with the use of clinical nurse leaders in a science-based population health approach to achieve more consistent, positive outcomes during transition of care. Finally, we suggest that care providers integrate the science of prevention with the principles of patient-centered care to more consistently deliver on the promise of population health.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nursing / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Texas