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The Health Care Leader as Humanist

Author: ANNE OSBORNE KILPATRICK
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 31 No. 4

This paper discusses the nature of humanism in healthcare management and leadership. Humanism in healthcare management should entail serving 1) patients and their families, 2) organizational members, and 3) the community. The article describes how humanism is largely absent from healthcare organizations as a critical and important value. In the twentieth century, a number of models of healthcare leadership were developed that were humanistic in focus. These models primarily stressed the value of attention by leaders on the needs and values of people working in the organization. However, humanistic, healthcare leadership involves not only motivating and empowering employees, but a primary, essential focus is for leaders to create environments that support and uplift patients and their families. Humanistic care in healthcare organizations can be facilitated by leaders establishing positive, supportive, and empowering environments for clinicians and other employees. Secondly, managers can establish programs to develop and train employees to provide humanistic care.

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