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Keywords:

  • nursing;
  • relationship;
  • communication;
  • helping;
  • caring

Nurses have the opportunity to make a profound difference in peoples' health and healing experiences. However, our emphasis and reliance on mechanistic models of relating often results in our failure to realize this opportunity. This paper challenges the appropriateness of mechanistic models of human relating that focus on behavioural communication skills, and suggests an alternate approach that emphasizes the enhancement of relational capacity. Five relational capacities are described including: initiative, authenticity, and responsiveness; mutuality and synchrony; honouring complexity and ambiguity; intentionality in relating; and re-imagining.