Nursing and the Humanistic Approach Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Learning Theory and Practice

The humanistic theory of learning puts the recipient of the learning at the center of the learning process—i.e., the individual is the focus rather than the environment, the nurse, the situation, etc. This stems from the person-centered approach that Rogers (1951) developed, describing it as “the best vantage point for understanding behavior is from the internal frame of reference of the individual” (p. 495).

The main advantages of humanistic theory are that: 1) it offers a learner-centered approach to learning that allows the needs of the individual learner to be front and center, and 2) it assists in the development of adequate motivation, relationship-building, communication, and self-efficacy (Halstead, 2007).

When developing a target change to a patient lifestyle, humanistic theory is especially helpful because it allows the patient’s needs to be identified and addressed first and foremost. For example, a patient who is obese may need to implement a healthier dietary and exercise lifestyle. Humanistic theory allows the nurse to identify the needs of the patient first; so instead of simply recommending the right course of action, indifferent to the patient’s underlying needs, the nurse can help the patient to identify issues that may be leading to a desire to eat unhealthy foods and avoid exercise. Perhaps the patient is depressed about something, or has a lot of anxiety. The nurse can help to address underlying issues through the humanistic theory and then implement the right course of action to help address the patient’s health issue.

In the case of providing a culturally tailored diabetic education to reduce HBA1C level in Asian Americans with type 2 diabetes, humanistic theory will allow a nurse to identify the culture of the patient and use this as a supportive approach to addressing the patient’s needs while providing quality care in treatment of the diabetes.

Health behavior change is a process and not an overnight event. It takes time for information to be processed, that processing to lead to action, and that action to lead to positive results that can reinforce the justification for the change in the first place. When developing an intervention for practice or research, this information can be put into action in terms of helping a patient to realize that change will not come immediately but may take several days, weeks or months before a sense of improvement can be felt.…

Sources Used in Document:


Halstead, J. (2007). Nurse Educator Competencies: Creating an Evidence-Based Practice for Nurse Educators. New York, NY: National League for Nursing.

Rogers, C. (1951). Client-Centered Therapy. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.

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