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Patient Responsibility

Blackmon, Patricia, RN

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AJN The American Journal of Nursing: April 2011 - Volume 111 - Issue 4 - p 12-13
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000396540.31598.b6
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Nurses should reject the temptation to blame and judge, as stated in "The Patient's Responsibility" (Viewpoint, February).

It's important that health care professionals examine how social and cultural factors influence a patient's lifestyle and personal choices. According to Gibson, "A sole focus on lifestyles not only leads to victim-blaming but also overlooks the fact that individuals are not solely responsible for the status of their own health."1 The nurse's scope of practice should include compassion, an appreciation of the patient's culture, and commitment, trust, and empathy.

Personal empowerment is gained through self-awareness and insight. Nurses can facilitate the self-discovery process by advocating for patients and providing education and connections to resources in the community.

Patricia Blackmon, RN

Forestdale, MA


1. Gibson CH. A concept analysis of empowerment. J Adv Nurs 1991;16(3):354-61.
© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.