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February 2011, Volume 41 Number 2 , p 46 - 49


  • Cheryl R. Ledesma BSN, RN


OVER 5 YEARS AGO, Crittenton Hospital Medical Center (CHMC) began its journey to initiate relationship-based care (RBC) with one idea in mind: to establish a new way of caring that would help nurses grow professionally and personally. The RBC model, which encourages nurses to take time to care for themselves, is based on three fundamental relationships: with self, with colleagues, and with patients and family. The model's premise is that a nurse's knowledge of self and self-care are fundamental to quality patient care and healthy personal and professional relationships.1This article explores the elements of RBC, discusses how practicing it benefits patients and staff at CHMC, and suggests ways to introduce RBC principles into your practice. (See A caring environment benefits the hospital.)The first dimension of RBC is the relationship with self. This includes self-knowing and a deeper self-awareness. Self-knowing, understanding how to balance your personal values and beliefs, requires you to understand how to articulate your needs to support personal growth. This growth is reflected in professional practice.Nurses can build caring relationships with their patients by first caring for themselves and their colleagues. Nurses who are distracted by inner conflicts can't effectively take care of vulnerable patients' needs.Self-knowing leads to self-awareness, which permits a balance of mind, body, and spirit. When one of these areas is out of balance, the other two suffer.Professional growth enriches your mind. To care for your body, you need to get enough rest, eat properly, and exercise regularly. Spirituality allows for self-awareness, which leads to intentional caring, or caring with thought and purpose.1To make interactions with patients meaningful, center yourself first. To do this, take a moment before entering the patient's room or perhaps while performing hand hygiene to pause and gather your thoughts. This practice gives you time to focus and ensure that you're

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