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Werdie van Staden


Background: Person-centered medicine (PCM) broadens the practical scope in health practice beyond patient-centered medicine.
Objectives: The objective of this article is to consider what a broadened scope mean in understanding how employment/work relates to the promotion of health and well-being of the patient and the practitioner.
Method: The conceptual scope of PCM is applied in considering the connections of work with health and well-being. The scope of occupational health is accordingly expanded in accounting for the work and well-being of the patient and the practitioner.
Results: PCM puts the person and people before their work. It recognizes that an employed person, whether patient or practitioner, works in a context that is interpersonal and in which all the role players contribute to a healthy milieu. This means that a healthy work–life balance should not be pursued merely as an attribute of an individual, but as a pursuit to which all role players should actively contribute and take joint responsibility. Both the employer and the employee should accordingly invest in a healthy work–life balance, for example. An employer that recognizes in a person-centered way its role in the well-being of its employee is investing in the employee as a valued asset not merely by attending to the person’s ill health and the prevention of ill health and burnout (as is commonly the objective in occupational health programs), but by promoting his or her positive health and well-being. Furthermore, PCM guides the pursuit of a person’s well-being in a healthy work context by accounting for the person’s subjective experiences, values, preferences and interests.
Conclusion: PCM provides for an approach to a healthy work context in which the patient or the practitioner may flourish through active investments for which both the employer and the employee should take responsibility.

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Author Biography

Werdie van Staden

Professor of Philosophy and Psychiatry; Director of the Centre for Ethics of Philosophy of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Board Member of the International College of Person Centered Medicine