Strengths Based Nursing

As a healthcare provider there are many different approaches you can take to providing care for your patient. Most approaches use the same medical model of focusing on deficits, and problems. However, there is another approach some use towards the delivery of care. This is referred to as Strengths Based Nursing (SBN), and focuses on eight core values. The end result is hopeful of promoting empowerment and self-efficacy for the patient by focusing on strengths instead of deficits.
The American Journal of Nursing lists these core values as:

  • Health and Healing: As the central goals of nursing, these two go hand in hand. Health is promoted by nurses as they control pain, and encourage physiologically healthy behaviors such as sleeping. The process of healing can help create and develop skills that can be beneficial to health. As a provider, understanding the relationship between these two is crucial.
  • Uniqueness: No two people are alike. Realizing this as a health care provider can help you to identify responses of patients in unique ways. It also can help you to understand the responses of patient families, and appreciate and encourage their needs for recovery/care.
  • Holism and Embodiment: Seeing a patient as a person and understanding their whole needs rather than just their medical issue helps the care provider to understand their interconnectedness. Taking care of symptoms and containment of what caused the dysfunction will help to enable healing.
  • Subjective Reality and Created Meaning: Because we all have experiences, they will shape understandings, create realities, and thus generate response. Understanding and appreciating this need to find meaning from a care giver perspective can help you to know your patient and how they experience their reality.
  • Person and Environment are Integral: Nurses that practice SBN are highly aware that they can deeply affect patients and their families while providing care even in a brief encounter. Simple acts of kindness, compassion, and knowledgeable responses can be memorable; likewise so can sloppiness, rushed and insensitive attitudes.
  • Self-Determination: Respecting a person’s self-knowledge, values, choice, and self-determination involves a choice about how to respond to limitations and certain circumstances. In following SBN you would listen attentively to help the patient in clarification and providing information to help them make their voices heard.
  • Learning, Timing, and Readiness: Learning creates movement through environment, timing synchronizes the outcome wanted with the willingness of the mind, and readiness together with these two can create healing. A nurse needs to be in tune with all three.
  • Collaborative Partnership: Without collaboration there cannot be a nurse/patient relationship. Setting a common ground, setting goals, and creating a course of action to attain these, is the objective. As a nurse you can help provide the information and support for this to be attained, even if that means wearing multiple hats.

The point of these goals is to help nurses feel empowered and inspired. This will create a healing environment that increases a patient centered environment and maximizes a patient’s capabilities.