What’s wrong with ‘seeing the person first’?

Cameron, Colin and Lingwood, Louise (2020) What’s wrong with ‘seeing the person first’? British Journal of Nursing, 29 (5). pp. 314-317. ISSN 0966-0461

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2020.29.5.314


‘Person first thinking’ makes it a virtue to ‘see the person not the disability’, considering it a kindness to overlook, or to make an effort to overlook, a person’s impairment in order to see ‘the person within’ (Michalko, 2002). While at first sight this might seem a caring and compassionate approach within everyday nursing practice, on closer examination it can be seen as unhelpful and possibly even discriminatory. It rests upon outdated Cartesian ideas about the body and the self – as if the disabled person is trapped within a flawed body and there is a ‘normal’ healthy person struggling to get out (Cameron, 2014a). It is based on a number of misplaced assumptions about the experience of impairment, treating this as something invariably unpleasant and regrettable (Morris, 1991:19ff). It involves a persistent way of thinking about impairment that has long been contested by disabled people themselves (Cameron, 2015).

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B700 Nursing
L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2019 10:28
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 12:34
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/41153

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