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The purpose of this qualitative study is to illustrate health-centred nursing by assessing the capabilities of patients with acute and severe ocular injuries. This study draws upon analyzing 17 nursing encounters with four adult male patients admitted to the ophthalmological ward of a university hospital in a rural Chinese city. The analysis identified that patients demonstrated the following strengths: (i) comprehension; (ii) self-reflection and examination; (iii) cooperation; (iv) patience and self-control; (v) self-efficacy; (vi) proactive acceptance; (vii) independence and a positive attitude towards challenges; (viii) support from family members; (ix) volition; and (x) flexibility. The results of this study highlight the importance of observing patients, assessing their abilities and helping them mobilize these strengths for recovery.