A meta-synthesis of person-centredness in nursing curricula

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationSpecial issue


Background: Person-centred approaches to practice are synonymous with effective healthcare. It is therefore important that the nursing workforce values, recognises and demonstrates person-centred practice. This has implications for nursing education and how curricula prepare students for person- centred practice.
Aim: To conduct a meta-synthesis of person-centredness in nursing curricula. Method: Meta-synthesis.
Results: The meta-synthesis included 48 papers. Four themes were identified:
• Moving beyond mediocrity (dissatisfaction with current teaching and learning approaches, and a desire to enhance curricula to promote person-centredness)
• Me, myself and I (promoting person-centredness in nursing curricula requires all participants in nursing education to have self-knowledge)
• The curricular suitcase (nursing curricula have finite capacity so the inclusion of person- centredness is an essential requirement for the career journey)
• Learning elevators (it is important to prioritise learning cultures and experiences that help students understand and enact person-centred practice)
Conclusion: This study has found that nurse educators aspire to and are committed to the promotion of person-centred practice. Internationally, a range of pedagogies and curricular developments to promote person-centredness have been positively evaluated. However, there is generally a lack of conceptual clarity about the nature of person-centredness and no evidence of a systematic approach to whole-curriculum development that reflects the theoretical principles of person-centred practice. Implications for practice development:
• Person-centred practice is a prominent concept in healthcare policy. If the future nursing workforce is to be prepared for person-centred practice then proficiency standards and nursing curricula should consistently reflect this
• Nursing curricula need to be developed to encompass a breadth and depth of learning experiences in academic and practice settings, in order to optimise student learning about those issues that matter most to people in need of healthcare
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Specialist publicationInternational Practice Development Journal
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2020


  • person-centredness
  • nursing education
  • nursing curriculum
  • Meta-synthesis
  • literature review


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