Dr. Laurie N. Gottlieb believes that global health care is in crisis. Escalating health care costs, a prevailing deficit model, an over-reliance on medical technology, and depersonalization have all contributed to a failing health system which does not promote patient empowerment or healing.
Professor of Nursing and former Director of McGill University’s School of Nursing, an award-winning nurse leader, and a foremost proponent of strengths-based care (SBC), Dr. Gottlieb hopes to launch a reform movement with her new book, Strengths-Based Nursing Care: Health and Healing for Person and Family.
As the first book to apply SBC to medical health care, Strengths-Based Nursing Care advances a paradigm shift from a model based on problems, deficits, and pathology, to one that focuses on the patient’s individual, family, or community strengths as the cornerstone of effective nursing care. The SBC model seeks to capitalize on these strengths to alleviate suffering, promote empowerment, support health, and enhance recovery.
“Nurses are by far the largest segment of the health care force and have the power to transform the current health care system,” said Dr. Gottlieb, who believes that compassionate knowledge is key, and that the “power of presence” (or face-to-face contact in a nurse-patient relationship) can have significant neurobiological effects promoting healing. “SBC gives nurses the power to bring the human touch to a highly sophisticated technological health care environment and to create a new culture, an ethos of caring rooted in values of compassion and knowledge, which restores the centrality of the nurse-patient relationship, and the person as the focus of care.”
Despite the significance of this model and the recent popularity of its premise, SBC is just evolving into an official system with its own guidelines and terminology. It has yet to be formally institutionalized, and health practitioners and managers have had, until now, no guidelines on putting it into practice.
“The power of the SBC approach can be seen everywhere, from counseling to micro financing,” commented Dr. Gottlieb, “and its ideology is often discussed and championed in health institutions, yet it remains a poorly understood approach to care with no resources for its implementation into health care practice. This book gives nurses and other health practitioners the guidelines, the language, and the structure to implement the SBC model, return health care to its founding principles, and save a health care system in desperate need of repair.”
What are your opinions of SBC and its implementation into health care practice? Share your comments below.