Title of ArticleEducating for a person-centred future – the need for curriculum innovation
Type of ArticleEditorial
Author/sBrendan McCormack
ReferenceVolume 10, Special Issue on Person-centred Curricula, Editorial
Date of PublicationSeptember 2020
Keywordscurriculum, person-centredness

Whether or not we are committed to an explicit person-centred philosophy or focus in healthcare, it is certainly the case that a global change is happening, representing a shift in emphasis from the primacy of new public management and system efficiency, to one that places compassion, dignity and humanistic caring principles at the centre of planning and decision making. Treating patients as persons is a focus of contemporary healthcare policy globally, as indicated by the continued focus on these principles in healthcare practice. In such a global context, the need for healthcare education programmes to plan strategically for a workforce that is ready to respond appropriately is obvious, and education curricula need to be innovative and proactive in this respect. In practice, this ‘reality’ may seem unreal, as evidence from service-user feedback, patient-experience surveys and patient/family outcome data continues to suggest that only ‘modest’ improvements in patient experience have been achieved, despite more than 20 years of service improvement, quality improvement and practice developments (cf Harding et al., 2016; Bastemeijer et al., 2019). While there has been major investment into such improvements, as well as into patient safety  (and yes, patients are safer – in hospitals at least), these data have not significantly changed over the years. Despite these best efforts, there is little evidence of fundamental change happening to the core cultural characteristics of healthcare practice, and some commentators argue (drawing on culture theory as an explanatory device) that most person-centred developments focus on the artefacts of practice (Davies, 2002; McCance et al., 2013; Dewing and McCormack, 2015) rather than on the core values that drive health and social care delivery.

One way of addressing these issues is through health and social care education curricula, and that is the focus of this special issue of the International Practice Development Journal.

This article by Brendan McCormack is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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