Nursing Profession’s Contribution to Person- and People-Centered Primary Health Care

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Yukiko Kusano
Erica Ehrhardt


Background: Equity and access to primary health care (PHC) services, particularly nursing services, are key to improving the health and well-being of all people. Nurses, as the largest group of healthcare professionals delivering services wherever people are, have a unique opportunity to put people at the centre of care, making services more effective, efficient and equitable.Objectives: To assess contributions of nurses to person and people-centered PHC. Methods: Analysis of nursing contributions under each of the four sets of the PHC reforms set by the World Health Organization.Results: Evidence and examples of nursing contributions are found in all of the four PHC reform areas. These include: expanding access;addressing problems through prevention; coordination and integration of care; and supporting the development of appropriate, effective and healthy public policies; and linking field-based innovations and policy development to inform evidence-based policy decision making.Conclusions:Nurses have significant contributions in each of the four PHC reform areas. The focus of nursing care on people-centeredness, continuity of care, comprehensiveness and integration of services, which are fundamental to holistic care, is an essential contribution of nurses to people-centered PHC. Nurses’ contributions can be optimised through positive practice environments, appropriate workforce planning and implementation andadequate education and quality control though strong regulatory principles and frameworks. People-centered approaches need to be considered both in health and non-health sectors as part of people-centered society. A strategic role of nurses as partners in services planning and decision-making is one of the key elements to achieve people-centered PHC.

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