Person-centred practice: what is it, and do we do it? #WeMDT Thurs 16th Feb 2017

We are holding a joint @physiotalk and @WeNurses tweet chat on Thursday 16th Feb at 8pm GMT – note change of day from the usual physiotalk chat! We will be using a #WeMDT hashtag for the chat.

Internationally there is increasing evidence, motivation, and policy drivers in relation to placing person-centred care at the centre of practice. There is ongoing research and debate focusing on what this means in different contexts and what the challenges are to engaging in person-centred practice.

Professor Brendan McCormack (@profbrendan), who will be hosting this tweetchat, developed the ‘Person-Centred Practice Framework’ with a colleague (McCormack and McCance, 2016). This emerged from an initial three-year research and development project focusing on implementing person-centred nursing in eight acute clinical settings, and subsequent research studies. Evidence supports the potential of person-centred practice to positively impact on people who are both delivering and interacting with health services, including service users and important people in their lives. Central ideas in person-centred practice include values, relationships involving mutual trust, understanding and care.

A young boy visiting the hospital for a check-up

Despite many organisations and teams promoting the ideals of person-centred practice, with greater emphasis on compassion and responsiveness to individual needs, this is not always enacted in day-to-day practice. Providers of health and social care services frequently do not feel empowered, or empowering. One barrier to person-centred practice being integrated in practice may be lack of clear and consistent definition. Dewing and McCormack (2016) recently argued that the complexity of person-centred practice may be underestimated.

Much recent thinking about person-centred practice has emerged from Nursing and there has not been much debate around the way in which core ideas in person-centredness may be enacted in physiotherapy contexts.

This introduction purposefully does not provide a single definition of person-centred practice, although you can read further in the useful resources below to explore current thinking. It will be valuable to explore what ‘person-centred practice’ means currently to people who are working in different contexts – both geographically and professionally.

For the tweetchat taking place on Thursday 16th February at 8pm UK time, we will have a shared discussion between WeNurses and physiotalk, using #WeMDT, discussing how person-centred practice is enacted in different contexts and settings. It is important for you to be aware that as well as a valuable discussion, we hope to analyse contributions to the discussion to further inform understanding in the field.

Useful resources and references

  • Journal of Clinical Nursing: Editorial entitled “Tell me, how do you define person-centredness?” by Professor Jan Dewing and Professor Brendan McCormack, 2016
  • McCormack B and McCance T (2016) Person-Centred Practice in Nursing and Health Care: Theory and Practice, 2nd Wiley Publishing, Oxford.

Questions to think about before the tweetchat:

  1. What do you think person-centred practice is?
  2. Do you feel that this is something Nurses / Physiotherapists do?
  3. Do you feel anything gets in the way of person-centred practice?
  4. Do you feel anything makes it easier?
  5. How do we protect the personhood of persons in our practice?

Tweetchat support


Catch-up here.

Research information:

WeNurses and Physiotalk (who are Teresa Chinn, Naomi McVey and Janet Thomas) would like to invite you to take part in a research study called ‘Person-centred practice: what is it, and do we do it?’ There is increasing emphasis on the importance of person-centred practice internationally, and is important that we can describe what we mean, and consider what it looks like in practice. This study involves a collaboration between WeNurses, physiotalk, Dr Cathy Bulley and Professor Brendan McCormack from the Centre for Person-Centred Practice Research in Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, and Sharisse Dukhu, Queen Margaret University.


To enable you to consider whether you would like to take part we would like to explain about the research project and how it is to be conducted. If you do decide to take part then your participation would be voluntary and you can contribute as little or as much as you like to the research.

The aim of the research is to explore perceptions of person-centred practice in Nursing and Physiotherapy through a Tweetchat discussion run by well-established social media communities: WeNurses and physiotalk.

 Your involvement

Your involvement in the study would be participation in a single tweetchat on a designated night to explore questions around your perceptions of person-centred practice.  The tweetchat questions will include:

  • Would you call yourself a nurse, physiotherapist, service user, or other?
  • What do you think person-centred practice is?
  • Do you feel that this is something Nurses / Physiotherapists do?
  • Do you feel anything gets in the way of person-centred practice?
  • Do you feel anything makes it easier?
  • How do we protect the personhood of persons in our practice?

If you participate in the tweetchat then your consent to take part in the research will be implied: this stance will be reiterated at the start of the chat and at intervals throughout the chat.  The responses from the tweetchat will be collected as a transcript and analysed for emerging themes.

Am I eligible to take part?

You are eligible to participate in this research study if you are interested and willing to engage in a discussion on person-centred practice through a tweetchat.

What will be the benefit of taking part for me?

There will be no direct benefit from taking part in the research for participants. However, it will increase insights into person-centred practice in nursing and physiotherapy internationally, with potential indirect benefits to patients. A summary of the results will be made available, through tweeting of key points and updates on the WeNurses and physiotalk websites.

Will my responses be private?

As Twitter is a public space, if you participate in the tweetchat your responses will be in the public domain. However, you can contact the lead researcher after the tweetchat if you would prefer your tweets not to be analysed in the research study (Cathy Bulley on

The research will be presented for publication to appropriate journals and professional conferences, but no participants will be identified in these publications.

Ethical approval

The study has received ethical approval from Queen Margaret University Ethics Committee

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