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OU June Nursing Blog

OU June Nursing Blog

Have you ever heard of SBC, Strengths-Based Care, in nursing (Gottlieb & Gottlieb, 2012)? Sadly, SBC seems not to have “caught on” in the trenches of everyday nursing life in America. Let’s do a little exploring and see if and/or how SBC could possibly be of benefit to nurses in 2023.

SBC is based in a “whole” person premise when it comes to nursing care. This sounds like something we’ve all heard before until we start identifying the various components of this approach – and considering how, if applied to nurses who do the caring – this could create opportunities for nurses and nursing to reconceptualize their approach to nursing care and potentially bring healing to themselves. Viewing patients as human beings first, and working with them to identify and build on individual and family strengths, is rooted in the nurse-patient relationship. This approach requires the nurse to approach nursing care from a relationship perspective. To do so involves relationship building with the patient, something which demands mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. In the current heavy workload of 2023 healthcare, and the type of daily crises which try men’s souls, where do nurses find that inner strength? Where would they (you) turn? Let me answer that by asking a critically important question.

Have you personally ever had the experience of being with someone who made you feel good about yourself, who showed respect and caring for your unique personhood, who created a sense in you of “I have unique value and am worth being listened to”? What was said or done by the other person that might have contributed to your sense of being valued and respected for your unique self? Take a moment and reflect on this. Dr. Barbara Dossey, the imminent nursing theorist and author who developed the Theory of Integral Nursing (2008), proposes an interconnected model of wholeness, which encompasses the relationship aspect of the nurse as a human being providing care to the patient, another human being. Is there something about this approach which might inspire a nurse to consider their own humanness as an important aspect of being a nurse?

As a vehicle cannot operate without either a tank of gas or a charged battery, a nurse needs a “full tank” or “full charge” of strength to match the demands of the nurse role. Nurses viewing themselves as human first – and being ok with that – and as nurses second, might possibly tap into an inner reserve of strength, born in the fires of adversity. Being – and accepting – one’s humanness as a nurse is not only okay, it is absolutely essential for restoration and healing in place. As a nurse who is both fully human – and okay with it – I encourage you to refuel and recharge by tapping into your humanness, accepting that as part of the role of nurse and being okay with it.

To take this a step further, I encourage you to consider additional education to increase your knowledge and skill in identifying and balancing the benefits of the human to human aspect of being a nurse. An exciting journey of personal and professional growth awaits you. I end this with a thought-provoking quote from the legendary Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” (Reed, 2014, para 1). Wow. I’d be willing to bet there are many, many nurses out there with untold stories inside them, waiting, waiting….


Dossey, B. M. (2008). Theory of Integral Nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 31(1), E52-E73.

Gottlieb, L., & Gottlieb, B. (2012). Strengths-based nursing care: Health and healing for person and family. Springer Publishing Connect.

Reed, B. (2014). Maya Angelou quotes: 15 of the best.



Posted: 06/14/2023
Updated: 06/14/2023 by Dr. Ruth L.M. Burkhart, DNP, MA, RN-BC, LPCC
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