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Shared decision-making: how nurses can help patients weigh up the issues

A person-centred approach will make interventions easier for patients to understand
Healthcare professionals and patient site around a table

A person-centred approach will make interventions easier for patients to understand

Helping patients make decisions about their treatment is a critical responsibility for healthcare professionals, yet shared decision-making can be far from straightforward.

‘There can be a mish-mash of expectations between what the patient, or their carer, thinks should happen, and what the nurse or the service provides, based on clinical reasoning,’ says Julian Barratt, head of postregistration education at Wolverhampton University’s Institute of Health.

Common examples may include requests by patients for investigations that are unnecessary, or for medication, such as antibiotics, that aren’t needed. ‘It can be challenging,’ says Dr Barratt.

What is shared decision-making?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence describes shared decision making as when health professionals work with patients to make decisions about their treatment and


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