J Med Ethics 38:93-97 doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100046
  • Clinical ethics
  • Paper

Elderly patients' and residents' perceptions of ‘the good nurse’: a literature review

  1. Chris Gastmans2
  1. 1Centre for Health Services and Nursing Research, Faculty of Medicine, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law, Faculty of Medicine, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Professor Chris Gastmans, Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law, Faculty of Medicine, Kapucijnenvoer 35, Leuven 3000, Belgium; chris.gastmans{at}
  1. Contributors Concept of the paper: CG and BDdC. Drafting of the paper: EVdE. Revision of earlier drafts: CG and BDdC Coordination of research: CG and BDdC.

  • Received 15 June 2011
  • Revised 5 October 2011
  • Accepted 13 October 2011
  • Published Online First 29 October 2011


This article describes the findings of a mixed method literature review that examined the perceptions of elderly patients and residents of a good nurse in nursing homes, hospitals and home care. According to elderly patients and residents, good nurses are individuals who have the necessary technical and psychosocial skills to care for patients. They are at their disposal, promptly recognising the patients' needs. Good nurses like their job and are sincere and affectionate. They are understanding and caring. They do not hesitate to enter into a trust-based relationship with their patients. Knowing and understanding how elderly patients and nursing home residents perceive ‘the good nurse’ is crucial for providing quality care and for promoting better patient outcomes in geriatric care.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.