Cindy Cooke

As a nurse practitioner (NP) who was responsible for the care of active duty and retired military members for more than a decade, the importance of relationship-centered care became exceptionally clear. NPs are educated and clinically trained to care for the whole person, to listen to our patients, and to use evidence and diagnostic tools to assess their health care needs and develop appropriate treatment plans. In the modern health care system, that often means working in concert with other members of health care teams and ensuring that each team member is empowered to utilize the full scope of clinical skills and expertise they possess.

Health and healing hinges on human relationships, including those between patients and their families, patients and providers, and members of the health care team. Thanks to their strong nursing foundation, NPs excel in building patient-provider relationships based on compassion, understanding, and trust. NPs are leaders who consult with and advocate for their patients and their communities. They take time to listen and to educate patients—components of relationship-centered care that improve compliance with treatment plans and reduce unnecessary hospitalization.