Sample Essay on Managing Patient-Centered Care Using SMART

SMART-Formatted Goal Related To Your Professional Leadership

The contemporary society has placed weighty emphasis on patient-centered care due to its assurance of high-quality health care and patient satisfaction. Policymakers, researchers, and patients have discovered that tailoring care to patients is the best way to go in order to attain efficiency and reduce costs. Responding to patient needs requires nursing professionals who can lead through communicating effectively with patients. Respecting patient’s point of view is equally essential in managing patient-centered care. Becoming a pediatric has always been part of my dream career, but my ultimate goal is to become a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. In professional leadership, having a smart goal is fundamental for evaluating one’s capability and efforts. My plan is to develop this career goal in a hospital environment that offers neonates a critical care unit for practice, and hopefully become a NICU nurse by December 2016.

Managing Patient-Centered Care Using SMART-Formatted Goal

Every department in the hospital facility, including patient-centered care, necessitates proper leadership development to enhance patient satisfaction. Patient-centered care involves an encounter between health care professionals with patients, where patients are allowed to express their preferences and needs while the health care professionals utilize patient information to make decisions. Patient-centered care is one of the core competencies in health profession, and its underlying philosophy is for the health care professionals to understand that the patient is a person rather than a combination of diseases. Health care professionals are involved in enlightening patients about health care so that patients can be armed with adequate information to make conversant decisions.

My goal is to become a pediatric nurse as soon as I accomplish my bachelor’s degree in nursing, as I contemplate on becoming a NICU nurse in the long run. Thus, developing a SMART goal-related plan is paramount for career progression as well as effective handling of patients. An all-rounded professional nurse is accountable to the overall management of nursing care needs of individual patients, together with their families, during the hospitalization of patients (Mefford & Alligood, 2011).  The SMART goal-related plan incorporates specificity, measurability, attainability, relevance (realistic), and time limit. Each component is extremely useful in arriving at the utmost goal since it offers guidance on how to progress towards the goal.


 Achieving a goal requires an individual to be specific on what the profession entails, and who should be involved for guidance. My parents have been supportive since the time I informed them of my career in nursing. They have played an enormous role by ensuring that I have all the necessary resources to attain my goal. They assisted me in paying for my education from kindergarten to college. In addition, they have been motivating me through encouraging words and connecting me to their friends who have been in this profession for many years. If I did not have the support from my family, I would have dropped the career because it demands an individual to develop positive attitude towards the main goal and learning how to respect others as one respects family members.

Before embarking on the nursing profession, I took my time to understand what the career entails and to match my interests with the requirements. Being a pediatric nurse is quite challenging but rewarding. It involves taking care of infants, children, as well as adolescent in a hospital, nursing home, or in a doctor’s clinic. In order to become a pediatric nurse, a student should take at least two years of learning to attain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. After college, the degree holder is advised to apply to a state board of nursing, which recognizes professionals as advanced practice nurses, but students must pass an exam, which allow them to become pediatric nurse practitioners. On the other hand, a NICU nurse usually works in a specialized section called neonatal intensive care unit, where he/she deals with patients that require prolonged monitoring or treatment from a serious life-threatening situation.

The support I got from my colleagues has also assisted in being specific in my goal. I recognize that their contribution is vital in giving recommendation about my experience, as well as in my resume. Through my studies, I have gained enough information about patient-centered care, which has enabled me to be categorical on my goal. Being specific is necessary in understanding patient needs, thus, knowledge on patient care can help in handling patients depending on their preferences. Patients are perceived to be autonomous; hence, nurses allow them to deciding what they deem right for themselves. Managing patient-centered care demands individuals to develop undivided attention to the needs of patients by differentiating effort from results.


 My plan to attain the goal of becoming a pediatric incorporates accomplishing my bachelor’s degree in nursing, which would enable me find a job in a hospital environment. So far, I have undertaken two internships; one in a nursing home and another in a hospital. In both occasions, I learned how to lead a team as well as using the latest technology, such as electronic medical record (EMR). Having a degree nursing will enhance my opportunity in landing a job in a nursing home, where experience is not necessarily required in order to become a nursing practitioner.

I can attest that college life has taught me numerous things that are linked to the development of leadership qualities. I have been a representative for my class for two years, and I have successfully managed to create friends from different regions through my leadership. Being accountable to the students’ needs has allowed me to focus deep on how to become a good leader, who can be relied on at all times. If I were not a student representative, I would not have considered attending numerous conferences and talks that consumed much of my study time. This was an illustration that apart from being a bright student, I also excelled in leadership skills, which are vital in enhancing productivity in health care.

Interacting with lectures in college has helped in focusing on my goal and following my timeline. My lectures have advised me to maintain my composure if I want to go far with my career. They reiterated the need to be accommodative and simple in order to find favor among employers. They empathized that it is more worthwhile to start from the lowest level in order to measure progress than begin at the top level and remain in stagnant in one position. Every new employee understands that he/she has to start with simple tasks before being allowed to undertake complex tasks. In a nursing home, a pediatric nurse is allowed to interact directly with patients to comprehend their needs. After becoming familiar with the hospital environment, my target is to transform into a NICU nurse.


 My goal is attainable because I have already undertaken a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which I am going to complete in a few months’ time. My decision to join college was driven by the belief that my dream goal was attainable. I have already filled a form for placement, which, upon receiving my certificate, will assist in getting a job in a hospital. Besides, I have numerous resources for reference in case of misunderstanding. Many doctors have made their contacts available for anyone who may require their services and guidance. I have already identified a physician, who is advising me through phone-calls and sending me articles through e-mail. Social media has become the easiest platform to engage professionals in a discussion or seeking valuable information. It has enhanced my ambition by believing that what I have aspired to become in within my reach.

The rising need for nursing professionals in the country has also enhanced my goal, as I focus on filling the gaps in the health sector. Knowledge on nurse staffing is essential to a NICU nurse because it determines how well a NICU nurse can accomplish his/her tasks in a given health care environment (Mefford & Alligood, 2011). Making comparison between the current needs and what was required five years ago demonstrates that more professionals are required to handle new types of lifestyle illnesses. This has created a chance for young professionals to demonstrate their prowess in understanding patient needs.

My endeavor to learn more on patient-centered care has enabled me to access an article written by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which has assisted me in gaining skills in communication. According to Davis Boykins (2014), understanding patient-centered care requires patients to develop good relationship with the health professionals whereas health professionals should endeavor to learn about core competencies and effective communication to enhance patient satisfaction. Effective communication assists in creating meanings in which nurses pass information to patients and encourage airing of opinions from patients to facilitate patient-centered care.


 My goal is already realistic, as I am almost through with my degree in nursing. Despite encountering numerous challenges during my study, I have gained substantial experience through internships and attending nursing talks, which is essential in transforming and managing patient-centered care. Fortunately, I did not struggle to get an internship because I had already exercised networking option effectively. I managed to contact numerous hospitals where I received overwhelming response. I only encountered a challenge in making a choice of which hospital to join.

During my internship, I managed to interact with pediatric nurses who have been in this career for more than a decade, and according to them, collaborating with other staff and understanding patient needs are quite essential factors in the management of patient-centered care. Managing patient-centered care effectively demands “treating patients with dignity and respect” in addition to understanding patient preferences and information exchange among nursing professionals (Berghout, et al., 2015, p.10). However, nurses are warned on giving patients too much freedom in making decisions about their care, as they may not understand fully about their ailments.

Besides handling patients, pediatric nurses are required to develop leadership qualities, which are vital in directing others in a team. In case of emergencies, pediatric nurses are assigned individual tasks; hence, lack of leadership qualities may make it extremely hard to coordinate different tasks.  This is part of what I covered during my internship; hence, I have developed leadership skills necessary to run a team in a hospital environment. Leadership skills are part of learning, which enable nursing professionals to foster good communication, respect for others, and engagement in shared decision making (Davis Boykins, 2014). I have come to appreciate that any individual can make decision concerning a particular issue in nursing. Hence, I do not necessarily have to be in a top position in leadership to suggest something essential for the teams.

Although language is not perceived as a barrier in accessing care, it should be put into consideration so that patients can understand their caretakers without struggling to find an interpreter. To achieve realistic goals in patient-centered care, nurses should learn at least two different languages to enable them handle patients from different ethnic backgrounds. My wish is not to remain in my country throughout my career, but rather to work in different countries where patient-centered care is readily required.

Time Limit

My journey to become a NICU nurse is a long one, which began when I was in pre-primary school. I used to pay much attention to other kids who were hurt during playing time. I would console them and offer to assist them in seeking solutions. Although I did not have adequate knowledge about NICU during my high school days, I began to believe on attaining my career goal when I joined college for nursing. I am half-way though with my course in nursing, where I am expecting to graduate in April 2016. After graduating, I am hopefully planning to start working in a county hospital by June 2016. My first six months of working will enable me to be acquainted with the hospital environment and requirements, before becoming a NICU nurse in December 2016.

If the hospital that I will join does not have specific plans for new recruits, I will accomplish my dream goal in December 2016. Teamwork and cooperation are crucial factors in ensuring smooth progress in the workplace in addition to enhancing leadership skills among employees. I have set six months as the appropriate time to understand the hospital’s setting and culture before switching to my dream goal of becoming a NICU nurse. Having effective communication with the nursing administration will enable the management to understand my goals and make recommendations about my progress.


My goal is to acquire knowledge on diseases that affect young children in order to assist them in recovery in the hospital environment. I am intending to accomplish my goal in 2016, where I would identify the appropriate health care facility to exercise my competence and make change to patient-centered care. SMART goal plan is fundamental for potential candidates who are looking forward to join their respective careers in nursing because it enhances confidence in attaining realistic goal at a given time. I chose to specify on becoming a pediatric, which would create a platform to become a NICU nurse. Nurses who work in patient-centered care require necessary information, skills, and attitudes to enhance patients’ satisfaction in the health care environment.  I knew that I could attain my goals not because others have done so, but rather because I had access to necessary resources and individuals who could support my dream career. My goal become real after attending internships, which gave me hope to become a NICU nurse by the end of 2016.


Berghout, M., van Exel, J., Leensvaart, L. & Cramm, J. M. (2015). Healthcare professionals’ views on patient-centered care in hospitals. BMC Health Services Research, 15(1), 1-13. doi:10.1186/s12913-015-1049-z

Davis Boykins, A. (2014). Core Communication Competencies in Patient-Centered Care. ABNF Journal, 25(2), 40-45.

Mefford, L. C. & Alligood, M. R. (2011). Evaluating nurse staffing patterns and neonatal intensive care unit outcomes using Levine’s conservation model of nursing. Journal of Nursing Management, 19(8), 998-1011. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01319.x